Students Use Spring Break to Expand Worldviews

NWU students are in Puerto Rico this week learning about its history and culture.
Art Club members take a subway ride to New York City art museums.
Members of Touch of Class Jazz Choir are in Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska as part of a spring break concert tour.

Ten students and Nebraska Wesleyan’s university minister are in Puerto Rico this week where they are tutoring in immigrant communities.

The trip — sponsored by the University Ministries Office — is providing an alternative spring break for students who want to learn and understand more about cultural differences.   

“The students will be learning about the culture, history, and social problems the people of Puerto Rico are facing,” said University Minister Eduardo Bousson, who grew up in Puerto Rico. “We’ll interact with speakers talking about immigration, emigration, gender roles, politics, and the economy.”

In addition to tutoring residents, students are learning about the natural resources with visits to nature reserves, the rainforest and beach. They are also visiting Old San Juan, a city that’s more than 500 years old.

“The students will be exposed to a different culture and that will help dispel stereotypes regarding this territory of the United States,” said Bousson. “I think it will also help them be hands-on with poverty and will expand their worldview.

“This trip is the perfect opportunity to combine two things I’m passionate about: languages and helping people,” said Emily Patterson, a junior Spanish major from Lincoln. “I don’t know very much about Puerto Rico, so I think going with someone who grew up there will definitely make a difference in how I experience it. It will definitely be interesting to observe the differences and similarities between Puerto Rico and the United States since both are part of the same country yet each have their own unique identity.”

Meanwhile 18 members of the Art Club are in New York City this week.

“Students will experience many different cultures by visiting the ethnically-diverse international art hub of New York City,” said Sarah Berkeley, visiting instructor of art.

Students are visiting many galleries and museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Museo del Barrio.

“Students will seek out artworks that are particularly relevant to their own studio practices and engage in reflective dialogue with peers and professors,” said Berkeley. “Beyond enhancing and expanding students’ knowledge of the arts, the trip will broaden students’ worldviews and enhance appreciation for cultural pluralism.”

Members of the Touch of Class Jazz Choir are using their spring break to share their vocal talents in the Midwest. The Jazz Choir is touring in Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska and performing the “Gospel Mass,” a six-movement work taken from the traditional Latin sacred texts.

Classes resume at Nebraska Wesleyan on Monday, March 30.