Winter Break Provides Opportunity for Global Academic Experiences

The campus may be quiet during the winter break but several academic experiences planned for the next month will make for an active learning environment.

Biology and psychology students will study and conduct research in Costa Rica. Global Service Learning will travel to Crow Creek Indian Reservation in central South Dakota for a winter service project, and the University Choir will share its talents at concerts in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Nebraska.

Thirteen biology students will travel to Costa Rica in January for a tropical biology course. Students will participate in reef and volcano tours, hiking, and whale and dolphin watching. They will also conduct research at a mid-elevation rainforest biological station.

“Students claim that it is one of the most important educational experiences that they have at NWU,” said Associate Professor of Biology Cody Arenz. “Last time a student claimed it was the best experience of their life. Another student said it was the most fun they had ever had learning.”

Three psychology students will join professor Mary Beth Ahlum in Costa Rica for a three-week course titled “Cross-Cultural Psychology.” Students will travel to Turrialba where they will study culture and language at the Adventure Education Center Language School. Among their studies will be the exploration of the Costa Rican education system, healthcare, promotion of ecotourism, and grassroots community organizing.

Fifteen student members of Global Service Learning will spend a week at the Crow Creek Indian Reservation in central South Dakota. Together they will volunteer at a local high school, women’s center, veteran’s memorial, and thrift store. They will be joined by professors Kathy Wolf and Jeff Mohr, and Service Learning/Global Service Learning Coordinator Kelli Wood.

While the reservation will benefit from the students’ efforts, NWU students are looking forward to reciprocal rewards.

“In most Global Service Learning experiences, our members witness this reciprocal nature of service learning that is empowered by communities overcoming diversity,” said GSL student member Eric Noel. “This attitude is not only contagious but it best conveys the qualities that are difficult to learn inside the classroom. Learning from others is the reward GSL is always pursuing.”

Finally, the University Choir will perform 10 concerts in four states beginning January 6 and concluding with a home concert on Sunday, January 17 at 7:30 p.m. in O’Donnell Auditorium. The concert will include diverse music including early Hebrew songs sung in Ladino, a Judeo-Spanish language, and Inca sung in Quechua, a Native American language. The choir will also perform excerpts from the well-known closing movement of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. The concert will conclude with the choir’s signature piece, Sir Malcolm Sargent’s Silent Night. See the tour schedule for a complete list of concert details.