In the Fall of 2010, 19 Goshen College students engaged in a fascinating Study-Service Term in Egypt under the leadership of Director of International Education Tom Meyers. After a semester, the students returned home on the eve of a turning point of history: the popular uprising that forced the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled Egypt for three decades. Four of the students have shared their transformative experiences.
As a group of 19 Goshen College students prepared to depart for a semester of study and service in Egypt on Sept. 2 — the first time the college has sent a group to the Middle East — President Jim Brenneman offered them words of encouragement: “This is a historic moment. A little over two years ago we had this dream that one day Goshen College students would be able to bridge that great divide between … the Muslim and the Christian worlds. … It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for you all,” he said. “As-salaamu Aleikum (Peace be unto you).” After a second, the group of students replied, “Wa-Aleikum As-salaam (And unto you, peace).”
Sometimes you don’t have to travel thousands of miles in an airplane over oceans to truly encounter another culture. Sometimes you just have to cross the street.
With 2,000 bracelets, one Goshen College student and dozens of Peruvian women, a town struggling with drugs, gangs and poverty is using art to slow that cycle.
With the current international situation being described as the “clash of civilizations” (the clash between the two largest religious traditions in the world, Islam and Christianity), Goshen College has decided that now is the time to “find its way to the Middle East in a new opportunity for learning through our well-established Study-Service Term program,” said President James E. Brenneman. The decision was made public at the April 14 Goshen College Afternoon Sabbatical international luncheon, which featured Egypt.
Northern Indiana may not have the exotic allure of Cambodia or Peru, but after 40 years of sending students around the world for a semester of cross-culture learning, Goshen College is launching a new location for its Study-Service Term (SST) program right in its own backyard.
Over the past decade, the number of U.S. students studying abroad has increased by more than 150 percent. And American students increasingly seek nontraditional study abroad destinations.
The world got a close-up look at the Sichuan province of China in May after a massive earthquake left 90,000 people dead or missing and destroyed much of its infrastructure. The news media returned last month for the spectacular Beijing Olympics.
In a report eagerly anticipated by incoming college students and their parents, Goshen College placed high in the third tier of Best Liberal Arts Colleges for the eighth straight year in the “U.S. News & World Report” 2009 edition of “America’s Best Colleges.” Goshen was ranked 149th out of 265 of the country’s top liberal arts colleges.
Goshen College President James E. Brenneman called for greater dialogue and exchanges between Christians and Muslims as he concluded a trip in which he led Goshen College board members and supporters to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.