Titled "Globalization of Southeast Asia" and "The World at Your Fingertips: Introduction to Globalization," Lenz's and Medvedkov's respective WittSems – small, topical courses exclusively for first-year students designed by faculty based on their intellectual interest or field of study – will incorporate an international study component consisting of an optional 11-day trip to South China.
Scheduled for May 2009 following Commencement, the trip will allow the dozen interested student participants to witness globalization firsthand by seeing a developing world up close and personal. Details related to cost and accommodations are still being determined, but the itinerary is close to being confirmed.
Starting in the modern city of Hong Kong, the trip will take participants to Shenzhen, a city built less than 20 years ago as an expansion of Hong Kong. From Shenzhen, the group will travel to Giulin, which is marked by beautiful karst topography in the Yangshuo area and which will serve as the base for trips to Longji and the Dong villages near Chengyang – places in China where the traditions of centuries past remain relatively untouched by the modern world. Unlike Hong Kong and Shenzhen, these communities illustrate pre-industrialized living, including terraced rice patties and clothing dating back hundreds of years.
"It is hard for American students to imagine these differences, making travels to the developing world an eye-opener," Lenz explained.
In preparation for the unique WittSem-related experience, Medvedkov and Lenz spent two weeks in China this summer exploring the areas where students will visit and gathering additional research for their respective courses on globalization. Medvedkov will focus on modern forces reshaping southern China, while Lenz will examine unique minorities in southwest China and their connections to people from southeast Asia.
The trip is part of the First-Year Experience's pilot program for incorporating international study into a student's first year on campus. The trip is one of three slated to take place in 2009. Assistant Professor of English J. Fitzpatrick Smith and Associate Professor of English Ty Buckman will take students in their co-taught WittSem titled "New Worlds in the Old World" to London, England, in summer 2009, while Professor of History Tammy Proctor and Associate Professor of Philosophy Nancy McHugh will take students in their WittSem titled "Making Coffee" to Guatemala during spring break 2009. For more information on Medvedkov's and Lenz's WittSem, e-mail them at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written By: Brian Schubert '09
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