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).”
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.
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 will lead Goshen College board members and supporters on a trip to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, Feb. 19 to March 5, to foster understanding across cultures and spread the college’s influence in the world.