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Dordt College News

Dordt College faculty teaching internationally during summer

June 7, 2012

This summer, four Dordt College faculty members will be teaching and leading Dordt students on unique cross-cultural experiences in Zambia, Nicaragua, and the Netherlands.

“Any time a faculty member has an opportunity to engage in cross-cultural and global experiences, they are changed both personally and professionally. And that change is passed along to the students they teach,” said Curtis Taylor, director of international students and off-campus programs.

Taylor explained that teaching in a foreign country allows faculty to examine their subject matter in new ways and to explore how it works in a global context. Because faculty members interact with and learn from people in other cultures, their own skills and knowledge is enhanced. “Everyone in the Dordt community benefits,” said Taylor.

Taylor will be developing and teaching Introduction to Psychology at Northrise University in Ndola, Zambia. Dordt College Agriculture Professor Ron Vos will also be at Northrise University where he’ll teach Service and Learning in South Africa.

Vos has been teaching Dordt students on summer learning trips for over a decade. He has taught in Hungary, the Ukraine, Russia, and Zambia. “In Zambia, our students link up with Northrise University students and live with them in a dorm setting. Students also experience health care, teach orphans, work with community development agencies, and assist in teaching agriculture,” said Vos.

In Managua, Nicaragua, Dordt College Professor of Agriculture Duane Bajema is teaching at the Nehemiah Center. No stranger to teaching and doing community work in foreign countries, Bajema has worked for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) in Mexico with his wife, where they worked in agriculture and community development. This will be Bajema’s fourth time teaching Culture, Missions, and Community Development in Nicaragua.

“The course that I teach provides students with a cross-cultural experience of seeing and experiencing a new culture in ways not available to them before,” said Bajema. “For some students, it is the first time to be outside the United States in a non-English speaking environment. They experience culture and poverty in a way they have never done before.”

Leendert van Beek, professor of language studies, will teach Dutch Culture and Reformed Worldview in the Netherlands, a course he has taught five times. Born and raised in the Netherlands, van Beek is a native speaker of Dutch and is knowledgeable about the Netherlands, the Dutch people, and their culture.

“In the morning we hold class and talk about the country. In the afternoon we visit the places that we talk about. This way, it all becomes real for them,” said van Beek.

This year, 19 students will be participating in these international experiences. More information about these and other off-campus experience available through Dordt College can be found at www.dordt.edu/academics/off_campus.
 

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