Saturday, December 15, 2007

Study Program

People visit other countries for different reasons. The main agenda for the holiday tourist is to see another culture, visit historical sites, shop and eat. I have never been attracted to site seeing, probably because I’ve seen enough sites that I’ve lost the curiosity of seeing just another country. If I were more of a history buff I am sure seeing the ancient ruins of Rome, visiting the Great Wall of China would be worth the time and money.

Short-term mission trips are popular in the American church as it gives them an opportunity to be tourists with the additional benefit of doing ministry. The “vacation with a purpose” is a Christian marketing strategy that appeals to the best side of Americans, i.e. making them feel as though they are contributing to Kingdom while at the same time seeing being exposed to the rest of God’s world.

Overseas study projects are generally available just for kids in college. These exchange programs allow American kids to go to Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa and study for a semester, get exposure to another culture and get college credit at the same time. The goal of these academic programs has one main focus -- to learn. Sure the kids also get to see the sites and sample the local cuisine, but the purpose is to grow intellectually in a foreign environment.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am making myself available to be an escort, of sorts, to interested parties who want to tag-along and learn cross-cultural studies within context. For those interested in such a program, here is what to expect.

1. I usually fly on Continental Airlines from Newark to Delhi, as COA is usually cheaper and it’s a direct flight to the capital. From Delhi we will then fly to the next destination where I teach.

2. On campus you will take the same course I am teaching to MA students; a three-hour module in cross-cultural studies. You will eat with the students, study with them and be housed on campus.

3. The costs will vary, but expect to pay between $2,500 to $3,000, which will include airline costs and accommodations while in the country. You will also need a tourist visa. If you can get your university or college to accept the course to apply to your credit hours, a syllabus can be sent to you for their evaluation.

4. The purpose of the trip is to learn within context, so this opportunity is not just for college students. Pastors, mission’s committee members and those who are thinking about serving cross-culturally as a career are encouraged to be a part of this program. The program is not exclusive to men but there must two or more women to make the trip together.

5. Like other overseas trips, participants will have an opportunity to shop and eat the local food. It will not be rugged conditions and it will be safe, but it will also not be a five star experience.

If you are interested in any of the trips planned (see dates of last post), please write and let me know of your interest and any other questions.