Summer a busy time for global learning
The Chorale won’t be the only group of Valpo students and faculty members embarking on an international experience this week.

Also leaving from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport today and tomorrow are:

  • A group of 20 Valpo students, led by classics professor Dr. Michael Kumpf, who will tour Greece.

  • A group of 22 students who will participate in Valpo’s annual summer program in Hangzhou, China, which combines coursework with an opportunity to intern at local companies for four weeks.

  • Six students will travel to Valparaiso, Chile, to serve as interns at the city’s YMCA.

  • Five engineering students will travel to Nicaragua to continue a multiyear project to provide sustainable electrical power to remote communities on Ometepe Island.

History professor Dr. Chuck Schaeffer, who is leading the summer program in China, says students will build their language skills, learn about China’s ancient history and diverse religious traditions, and discover how the Chinese people are trying to preserve their history while embracing modernity at an unprecedented speed and scale.

“It is a chance to see globalization in action,” Dr. Schaeffer says. “The combination of living, working and traveling in China has the capacity to transform Valpo’s students into true global citizens.”

Students will work one-on-one with Chinese mentors at a variety of businesses, media agencies, engineering firms, financial institutions and Hangzhou’s largest hospital during their internships. They also will visit Shanghai’s Expo 2010, which will bring millions of visitors from across the global to see the strides China has taken in the last 40 years to become an economic powerhouse.

During a three-week tour of Greece, students will visit major archaeological sites and museums while discussing ancient Greek literature and experiencing modern Greek life.

“The tour introduces students to the roots of Western cultural heritage,” says classics professor Dr. Michael Kumpf, who will lead the tour for the 19th consecutive year. “Over the past 18 years many tour alumni have informed me that their Greek tour was the high point of their time at Valpo.”

Other groups of Valpo students and faculty will participate in overseas program in China, England, Argentina and Chile later in this summer. At the same time, Valpo will host groups of high school and college students from China and Mongolia during summer programs on its campus.

Studying abroad and welcoming visitors from other nations are just two of the ways that global learning is incorporated throughout the Valpo experience. Every Valpo student also develops a broader global perspective and knowledge through their on-campus coursework, campus events that provide insight into other cultures, overseas service learning trips, musical tours, and conversations with fellow students who hail from more than 50 countries.

Valpo students also regularly connect global learning with serving others.

The team of students traveling to Nicaragua, for example, will continue a College of Engineering initiative to install wind turbines to generate electricity. The team designed and built a solar-powered wind turbine monitoring system as their senior design project, which will provide data aiding the design of more efficient small-scale wind turbines for poor, rural communities in other developing nations.

"This kind of work has provided a foundation for my interest in working in the Peace Corps after graduation, and then pursuing a path where I can use my engineering skills to make a difference in people’s lives,” says team member Rachel Howell, a mechanical engineering major from Dexter, Mich.

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May 20: Concert - Leipzig, Lutherkirche (7:30 p.m.)
May 23: Service - Seyda (10 a.m.) and Gentha (1 p.m.)
May 24: Concert – Rottenburg am Neckar, Wallfahrtskirche Weggental (7 p.m.)
May 25: Choral Workshop – Rottenburg am Neckar (9:30 a.m.)
May 26: Concert - Bernburg, Schlosskirche (7:30 p.m.)
May 27: Concert - Köthen, St. Agnus kirche (7:30 p.m.)
May 28 - Service - Leipzig, Thomaskirche (5 p.m.)
May 29 - Cantata - Leipzig, Thomaskirche (3 p.m.)
May 30 - Service - Leipzig, Thomaskirche 10 (a.m.)