Study Abroad program makes inroads into other cultures

Buies Creek, N.C.— Each year the Campbell University Study Abroad program sends students throughout the world as part of a learning opportunity and service experience intrinsic to the Campbell mission. 

In the summer of 2010 students studied the natural history and ethnoecology of Hawaii, medicine and infectious disease in Africa, business operations in Chile and educational programs in South America.

“This is not a tourist program,” said Dr. Debora Weaver who, along with Dr. Michelle Suhan Thomas of the Department of Biological Sciences, was in Tanzania, Africa with students who performed medical wellness clinics in an orphanage and local primary schools. “We are interested in students who are academically rigorous and serious about service.”

Drs. Edward Fubara and Ben Hawkins of the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business called their study abroad excursion “Business in Chile” because the purpose of the trip was to expose students to the culture and business practices of the South American country. The group attended presentations made by a variety of organizations, from a nonprofit foundation specializing in microcredit and microfinance to a family-owned cruise line, and learned valuable lessons on branding, differentiation strategies, business growth and social entrepreneurship from Chilean business leaders.The students also spent a day painting and repairing the walls of an orphanage damaged by the recent earthquake.

Both Fubara and Hawkins called the experience invaluable because the students learned about the business world of Chile and were able to see international examples of the concepts they discussed in the classroom.

Drs. Christopher Havran, assistant professor of biology, and Carol Maidon, director of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program at Campbell, were similarly impressedwith their study abroad experience.

Among many other activities, Havran’s group compared modern and prehistoric agricultural techniques in Hawaii by visiting restored prehistoric agricultural sites and modern coffee and chocolate plantations as part of the two Campbell courses taught during the trip, Hawaiian Natural History and Hawaiian Ethnoecology. They also helped restore native Hawaiian habitats by removing invasive Guava trees, searching for invasive ant populations and surveying endangered birds.

“With the large influx of cultures to the Hawaiian archipelago comes an influx of invasive and non-native species,” said Havran. “This, coupled with the encroachment of human settlements into formerly native areas has resulted in the endangerment of many native Hawaiian plants and animals. I was thrilled to expose Campbell students to native Hawaiian habitats and the threats they are currently facing. I am extremely proud of the students’ enthusiasm throughout our sometimes rigorous hikes and service learning exercises.”

 This is the second trip to Costa Rica for Maidon’s N.C. Teaching Fellows who volunteered at local schools and interacted with their host families. They also completed an Ecology of Costa Rica science class begun during spring semester, and received instruction in Spanish at the Instituto de Cultura y Lengua Costarricense. While studying the vast biodiversity of Costa Rica, the students hiked through several national forests and even experienced an earthquake, added Maidon.

 “Being over there, having this kind of immersion program really helped them to become more empathetic with foreign cultures,” said Maidon. “This experience will have an everlasting influence on their lives.”

Campbell’s Study Abroad offers hundreds of programs in over 50 countries, including semester and summer long programs as well as domestic and abroad internships. Since becoming director of the program in 2006, Dr. Donna Waldron has really emphasized the service/learning concept.

“Campbell places great importance on the servant leadership role in society and encourages students through activities and academics to apply this model to their own lives,” Waldron said. “The mandate of the Study Abroad program is to develop these types of international educational enrichment programs across the academic spectrum.”


Photo Copy: Students study business practices in Viña del Mar, Chile. Back Row, from left: Patrick Cabell Sinclair, Dr. Edward Fubara, Christopher Reaves. Front Row, from left: Antonio Spears, Amanda Colvin, Leigh Griggs, Jennifer Hodges, Dr. Ben Hawkins, Elizabeth Mize, Michael Meredith, and Shane Morgan.