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24 Trips to 17 Countries Among 2009's Winter Term Projects

January 1, 2009

Winter Term Service 2007 India 1.jpgJanuary 1, 2009, Greencastle, Ind. — Tomorrow marks the beginning of DePauw University's Winter Term, a time for students to explore new places and experience different ways of learning. This year, DePauw students will travel all over the world to explore the intricacies of specific countries, immerse themselves in other cultures and serve the less fortunate. Twenty-four off-campus Winter Term trips are planned in January 2009 with students traveling to 17 countries.

Other experiences will take students to businesses and organizations within the United States, and there are numerous programs scheduled for those who spend the month on the Greencastle campus. Winter Term ends January 23.

Kathleen “Kate” S. Knaul, director of the Center for International and Experiential Education and assistant dean of academic affairs, says that Winter Term staff members work hard to “try to make sure there are projects in every region, and there is a real benefit to ec tower snow 2005.jpgadding to the diversity of where students are studying.”

Five of the off-campus trips in January are Winter Term in Service trips, designed to give students cultural experiences while they give back to communities through various service projects.

They include trips to Brazil, where students will facilitate a summer camp experience for orphaned and abandoned children at the village of Rio de Contas; Costa Rica, where students will explore sustainability by working with and talking to local citizens as well as engage in an alternative energy/local foods initiative; Peru, where students will help with an orphanage project in Oropesa; and the Philippines, where students will help construct a local training center, assist the medical team offering public health clinics, and provide technology and English education to local 16-to-18-year-old youth.

 There is also a project planned in Greencastle through which students will explore the socioeconomic conditions of Putnam County and Winter Term Service 2007 India 3.jpglearn firsthand the realities of earning a living wage in Putnam County.

Other off-campus trips are faculty-led and vary in focus, depending on the topic proposed by faculty members in charge of the trip. Knaul emphasizes the importance of these trips for the intellectual enrichment of both faculty members and students.

She says that for some faculty members, “they have an opportunity to teach something that isn’t part of their normal discipline. For others, it allows them to develop something new in what they’re teaching on campus. For students, it’s being able to study something completely different than what they study on campus, and for some it is an extension of their education.”

Faculty-led projects include a trip to Buenos Aires to study the multiculturalism of the third largest city in Latin America; a historical and sociological study of five cities in China; a trip to the Czech Republic to study the artistic and historical developments that have shaped Winter Term Service 2007 Cameroon 2.jpgEuropean culture; a trip to Egypt to study the ancient cities and temples of the Nile Valley; and a trip to Mexico to study the Mayans and their archaeological remains in several important sites.

“There is a great deal of focus by faculty members and students on how Winter Term complements their study here, or it broadens their education,” Knaul says.

Knaul also stresses the adaptive nature of Winter Term projects to meet the needs of faculty members and students. She notes the new May Projects, trips planned in May rather than in January’s Winter Term, as an example of the flexibility of the trips to address the special needs of certain faculty-led projects.

Three May Projects are scheduled in 2009: trips to the Colorado River for geological study, China to explore the museums of the Silk Road, and Italy to study the ancient Roman seaside town of Grado. Each project has a specific purpose for taking place in May rather than in January.

DePauw Seal.jpg “The May Projects came about because there have been faculty members that want to take students to places that aren’t accessible in January,” Knaul says. Winter Term staff members anticipate continuing this option.

Students will also participate in off-campus internships during Winter Term, primarily in the United States. Other students will conduct independent study projects both abroad and in the U.S. Others will take courses on campus.

Learn more about DePauw’s Winter Term by clicking here.

The University's first Winter Term in 1971 included visits to campus by Buckminster Fuller and Aaron Copland. Details can be found in this story.

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