In recent years, several short-term study abroad programs led by Trinity faculty have provided students distinctive international learning experiences. These programs provide added value by allowing our students to work closely with Trinity faculty members in an international setting while taking rigorous classes that align with the goals of the Pathways curriculum. Since students travel and learn together as a cohort, they often bring their experiences back to campus in a meaningful way, weaving these experiences and personal relationships more deeply into their overall Trinity experience. We will explore creating equally rich additional programs by developing appropriate curricular goals, risk management procedures, assessment metrics, and oversight that prioritize academic rigor, student safety, and administrative cost efficiency.
We will find more effective ways to deliver high quality international experiences to a greater number of Trinity students, especially among student populations with historically low participation in study abroad. Our goal is to find and achieve the ideal balance of faculty-led and third-party programs for Trinity.
For the second time, a collection of Trinity students traveled to Cuba in a course that explored the politics, culture, and environment of the island. Led by political science professor Katsuo Nishikawa, biology professor Kelly Lyons, and San Antonio artist Stuart Allen, the group traveled from Santiago de Cuba in the southeast to Havana in the northwest. The students journeyed throughout Cuba for two weeks during winter break, following a fall preparation course that taught them about Cuban history and society.
While in Cuba, students had the opportunity to interview Cuban citizens and ask questions about life in Cuba, freedom of speech, their opinions regarding Communism, and how they viewed the normalization of relations with the U.S. Through these interactions and various excursions, the students were also able to observe Cubans’ agricultural lifestyle and the lack of industrialization. Students and faculty discussed sustainability and how the physical and political isolation of the island has contributed to its current economic state.
Among other highlights, the group visited Havana’s botanical gardens, organic farms in Viñales, live music concerts, Havana’s Malecón, and the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception. Students earned three hours of course credit in either political science, international studies, economics, or biology.