Global learning experiences take students to India, Mexico

From working alongside medical professionals in Mexico to studying ancient Tibetan Bönpo culture and religion through a service-learning course in India, students and faculty are enjoying stimulating global learning experiences this summer.

The summer programs are organized through Dominican’s Global Education Office.

Nine students are spending four weeks in India, working and studying at the Menri Monastery. Menri is located in Dolanji in Himachal Pradesh, a northern Indian state in the Himalayas. The monastery is home to more than 350 residents. The Tibetan-style buildings include temples, a library, dormitories, a health center, and a school.

Young monks receive traditional training in Bon, the ancient, indigenous religious and cultural tradition of their Tibetan ancestors. In addition to classes in grammar, medicine, astrology and poetry, they are also provided with a modern education.

The Dominican students are studying at Menri as part of the Religion and Globalization service-learning course. The course focuses on globalization as a conceptual framework to help students understand the religious landscape in the contemporary world. Currently they are exploring how to integrate with the community and work on projects that are identified as priorities by the Menri community.

Last week the students enjoyed tea with His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trinzin Longtuk Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche. This came one day after His Holiness returned to Dolanji from Dharamsala, where he was taking part in celebrating Dalai Lama's upcoming 80th birthday.

During their first week at the monastery, Dominican students began introducing some western pastimes, said Kati Bell, director of the Global Education Office.

“One of our students has started a basketball club at the monastery, which I hear is becoming very popular,” Bell said. “Another student is playing popular songs on his guitar, and I have been told that he has quite a following.”

Last month faculty from the Department of Nursing, the Department of Occupational Therapy, and the Department of Public Health visited the Universidad de Anahuac MAYAB to expand an ongoing partnership between Dominican and the Merida-based university.

The Dominican team was exploring opportunities for other Dominican faculty in the School of Health and Natural Sciences to work with students on research projects overseas.

“We are excited to expand the interdisciplinary aspect of this partnership in which nursing, occupational therapy and public health are working together,” Bell said.

The Dominican team met with counterparts from MAYAB and visited medical clinics and rehabilitation centers that will host Dominican nursing, occupational therapy, and public health majors enrolled in the Spanish Immersion for Health Care Majors program next summer.

“The goal is to improve our students’ level of Spanish in a medical context by working in local clinics and rehabilitation centers alongside Dominican faculty and faculty from MAYAB,” Bell said.

In 2016, faculty and students from nursing and public health will work on a community health project. The goal is for students to collect data around a community health issue – be it childhood diabetes, asthma, or nutrition – and then present these findings to medical staff at local clinics.

Earlier in June, faculty and staff from Dominican visited the Bali Institute for Global Renewal to participate in a Global Learning professional development program.

“The eight-day program was designed to promote transformative education by teaching a pedagogy that integrates academic curriculum with cultural immersion experiences,” Bell said.

Lectures and meetings included Balinese cultural and academic leaders as well as experts in the field of facilitative leadership and collaborative learning.

The program also included visits to temples, coconut groves, local markets, a working rice paddy, a turtle sanctuary and the ancient village of Mengwi.  A highlight of the program was a private dinner at a Peliatan Palace hosted by the reigning prince.

The Global Education Office will be offering the Bali Global Learning professional development program in May 2016.

Last month, six students traveled to the hills of northern Spain to participate in a creative writing retreat led by English instructor Marianne Rogoff at The Finca, a rustic farmhouse on hundreds of acres of olive trees, almond groves, and natural forests.

Currently, students are studying Spanish language and Spanish literature through Dominican’s partnership with Universidad de San Antonio de Murcia. The four-week, six-unit program is taught by Radica Ostojic-Portello, assistant professor of International Languages and Carlos Rodriguez assistant professor of English.


June 30, 2015