Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIII, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitties spend their summers abroad

Iceland, India, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, Mexico, Uganda and France were only a few of the countries Whitman students studied in over this summer.

Of the 56 Whitman students who studied abroad this summer, about half of them participated in two Whitman-sponsored programs.

Sixteen students traveled to China through the Whitman Summer Studies in China (WSSC) program. This was the fifth year of the six-week WSCC program which was established in 2001 and typically runs every other summer. According to WSSC’s Web site, “The purpose of the program is to give students an opportunity to study conversational Chinese intensively in an environment where it can be put immediately into practice, as well as a chance to learn firsthand about Chinese culture and contemporary society by living and studying there.”

Program participants spent the first week touring Beijing.

They spent the following four weeks in southwestern China in Kunming, the capital of the Yunnan Province, where they lived and studied at Yunnan University. There they enrolled in a four-credit intensive language course taught by the university’s professors. Whitman History Professor Brian Dott led the WSSC program and students also took a two-credit course from him focusing of the history on ethnic minorities in Yunnan.

They spent their final week traveling around other parts of southwestern China.

Sophomore Elizabeth Bragg participated in this summer’s WSSC program.

“Traveling and studying abroad is an important part of personal growth. Immersing yourself in another culture is also a way to better understand your own culture,” Bragg said.

Students who have completed Chinese 106 or its equivalent at Whitman are eligible to apply for the WSSC program.

Ten students also participated in this summer’s inaugural Whitman Ethnographic Field School in Highland Ecuador program led by Whitman Anthropology professors Jason Pribilsky and Suzanne Morrissey. Students in the seven-week program lived with host families in a rural, indigenous community in the Ecuadorian Andes. They enrolled in an eight-credit course taught by Pribilsky and Morrissey entitled “Culture, Health, and Indigenous Development in the Andes.”

Students in the program also learned how to use ethnographic research methods to study the relationship between health and social change in the developing world. They used these newly acquired skills to conduct their own research and to produce an ethnographic report of their research.

Participants’ projects ranged from the study of dental hygiene practices to the rise of evangelicalism in the community. Senior Shawn Kelly researched the psychological effects of migration on children in the community.

“I wasn’t able to study abroad last school year,” Kelly said. “All of my friends had studied abroad and I wanted to have that experience.”

Whitman students who did not travel abroad through Whitman sponsored programs participated in a wide range of programs ranging from language intensives to thematic studies relating to their particular country.

“In recent years, summer study abroad has been especially appealing to first and second year students who are not yet doing research for their major or are not yet interning but still want to do something useful, productive, or fun during the summer,” Whitman Director of International Programs Susan Holme Brick said.

“Summer study abroad is a wonderful way to get overseas in a structured format, especially for students who for some reason are unable to participate in study abroad during the academic year,” Brick said.

Whitman does not currently provide funding for summer study abroad; however, some programs do provide scholarships.

Summer study abroad program deadlines usually range from early January to late May. Brick recommended that students interested in studying abroad during summer 2009 begin planning in October or November. The study abroad office’s Web site (whitman.edu/study_abroad) is a useful starting place and it lists all of the pre-approved summer programs. Interested students can also set up an advising appointment with the Study Abroad office.

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