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Calvin adds three more off-campus programs


Calvin College is one of the top schools in the country in its classification for students studying abroad. That number is apt to go up after a recent decision to add two more off-campus study programs to the Calvin curriculum.

Beginning this school year, Calvin students will be able to travel to 10 destinations for semester-long study programs, including the two most recent—Ghana and a second program in Honduras. Both were approved this spring.

Ghana and the second Honduras program join a semester-long program in France, which was also recently approved, and existing overseas programs in Britain, China, Honduras, Hungary and Spain. Calvin also has semester-long U.S. programs in New Mexico and Washington, D.C.

Said Calvin's Frank Roberts, director of off-campus programs: "Off-Campus programs have an unusually deep and long-lasting effect on Calvin students. They provide experiences which generally cannot be duplicated on campus. They broaden students' perspectives on world affairs and on the kingdom of God. They are an important, and growing, part of a Calvin education."

The program in Ghana grows out of Calvin's commitment to establish a semester-long study program in Africa. Calvin students will study at the University of Ghana where they will share dormitory rooms with Ghanian students. In addition most of the courses will be taught by professors from the university. The director of the program at the outset will be Randal Jelks of Calvin's History Department. He will teach one course and coordinate one course. Several other professors at Calvin with experience in Africa have also indicated an interest in leading the group in future years. Students will study African history, religions of West Africa and African Literature and Drama. All students must also take a course in the local tribal language called Twi (pronounced Tri).

One of the reasons for a second program in Honduras is the high demand for Calvin's existing Semester in Spain program (the Honduras program will be a Spanish-language semester). Calvin also wanted to provide its Spanish majors with the option of a semester-long program in Latin America, especially because many people in the United States who speak Spanish hail from Latin America. The director at the outset will be Marilyn Bierling of Calvin's Spanish Department. She will teach two courses. In addition, several Honduran teachers will provide several courses. Finally, Kurt VerBeek, the director of Calvin's other Honduras program (a Third World Development semester), will also do an orientation class at the beginning of the semester and will teach a culture class during the semester. Calvin students will stay with Honduran families during the semester-long program.

A recent report by Calvin director of institutional and enrollment research Tom VanEck showed that more and more Calvin students are taking advantage of the chance to study abroad in Calvin sponsored programs. Almost 50 percent of Calvin's Class of 2000 studied abroad at some point during their Calvin career. For about two-thirds of those students their study abroad came during Calvin's three-week Interim. About one-third of the students who study abroad do so for an entire semester.

Study abroad is becoming an important goal for colleges and universities across the country and extends to small, private colleges such as Kalamazoo College as well as big, state schools such as Michigan State University.


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