Taking it global

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May Term service-learning courses give students an up-close look at other cultures

Redlands students have the opportunity to make a difference on a global scale during May Term, when several courses are offered that combine international and domestic travel with academics and community service.

Since 2010, Barbara Conboy, professor in communicative disorders, has taught Language, Culture, and Education in Guatemala, giving University of Redlands students an up-close look at how the Guatemalan educational system differs from ours and the barriers to education created by poverty, cultural and language differences, and disabilities.

“Students learn through experience, observation, academic readings, discussion and reflective writing about the roles of language and culture in education,” Conboy says.

The students—who live with Guatemalan families—spend about two to three hours every day volunteering with a non-governmental organization that serves low-income children and children with disabilities who are excluded from the public system. They also work with Guatemalan teachers to provide language enrichment activities for the kids. Redlands students who want to learn Spanish also have the opportunity to study with a private teacher for several hours a week, or can learn the Kaqchikel Mayan language.

Scholarships for such opportunities are made possible in part through the Walker Family Community Service Travel Fund.

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