Spring Break Means Immersion Learning

February 29, 2008

Katrina Clean-Up
Glee Club

Students arrived in Germany, Spain, and Washington D.C. Saturday with more reaching their Immersion Learning destinations on Sunday. The groups have started blogging. Click this story to check on all the trips.

Sunday afternoon the more-than 20 football players arrived in Botswana, Africa. Check the One Way Ministries' journal above, labeled Botswana, to see photos and keep track on their progress.

EDITOR'S NOTE: On home page, Luke Bielawski is about to totally submerge in the Jordan River in Israel where Jesus was believed to have performed Baptisms. On other homepages throughout the site, German students visited a concentration camp - note the words on the gate transflated: 'Work Makes Free.' Also, members of the Glee Club at the Golden Gate Bridge.

Nearly 150 Wabash men will be off this weekend to serve humanity, learn about different cultures and languages, and enhance their liberal arts education. It’s Spring Break immersion learning week. Each of the trips will be documented by web blogs.

We expect daily updates from nine or 10 of the trips. So visit the Wabash website regularly throughout the week to read about the students’ learning, work, and adventure. You can visit each of the blogs by clicking on the appropriate link at the upper right in this story.

"Among the many diverse and rich ways students engage faculty at Wabash, immersion learning trips really stand.out." Dean of the College Gary Phillips said. "The close faculty/student interaction centered around course work is translated from the campus to locations across the country and, indeed,  around the world. These trips with faculty, staff, and students gathered from across the campus bring to life the work of the liberal arts. They provide opportunities to engage the world. And they make it difficult to return to campus unchanged and unchallenged.

"I know of no college anywhere in the United States that makes the financial and educational commitment we do to make such opportunities happen for our students."

The immersion learning trips are tied directly to courses the students are taking. For example, advanced Spanish language and literature students are now in Madrid; German students are doing research in Berlin; and political science students studying the politics of the Middle East are in Israel.

One of the trips is tied to a combined physics, Spanish, and history course. Wabash men who have been learning about ancient Mayan culture are in Mexico to see first-hand how the Mayans based much of their civilization on the rotation of the earth and the position of stars and planets. The students are visiting ancient Mayan ruins and meeting with both archeologists and anthropologists who are experts in the field.

But many other students traveling for different reasons. The Glee Club is in Northern California for a series of concerts. Advanced biology students are in the Everglades and Florida Keys studying unique ecosystems. We’ve also got students in Washington job-shadowing Wabash alumni, and men traveling around Indiana to learn about business and marketing.
More than 40 students will be doing mission work, both here and abroad.
About 20 Wabash football players each raised nearly $3000 to travel to Botswana in order to work with the young people in poor villages. The players will conduct sports camps all throughout the region, while teaching the children about Christianity.
Almost as many Wabash students are traveling with Professor Jon Baer to Louisiana to continue to rebuild homes destroyed by hurricane Katrina. The trip is entirely voluntary, and is being done in conjunction with the First Christian Church in Crawfordsville.
"While we do an excellent job with immersion trips — which are fabulous learning experiences — I think we haven’t often had opportunities for people to serve men, women, and children in need," Baer said. "I think that’s an important part of the education process here and something to which we want our students and our graduates to be committed."


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