AEA Digest: Pick your Destination

By Eva Erickson and Stacey Johnson
If you followed the many colorful flyers plastered around campus, you would find yourself in the Antioch Education Abroad (AEA) office, surrounded by foreign food, information, and a crowd of advisors and students sharing their stories from far-away places. This gathering at least shows that AEA, even in the face of the college’s instability, is thriving as usual.
   A total of five Fall 2008 programs and two Spring 2008 programs are currently available, each offering the potential for a full and inviting experience. For example, with the Buddhist Studies in Japan program, students stay in Kyoto, a mystical 1200-year-old city encircled by soaring trees. For a total of sixteen credits, students are expected to complete an independent research project, choose between three Buddhism courses, and can add a language course. The five Buddhist precepts (abstaining from taking lives, theft, sexual misconduct, lying, and intoxicants) are strictly followed in order to have the mind necessary for full participation in the intensive program. “I learned a lot about myself and had a lot of fun. It was very beneficial to the rest of my academic experience,” expressed Julian Sharp, a fourth year student who partook in this program in 2006.
The Buddhist studies in India have the same basic principles as the Japan program, yet the course offerings are different, with two language classes (Hindi and Tibetan), and a course on meditation rounding out the curriculum.  Located in Bodh Gaya, a 2500-year-old “magnet for pilgrims from all Buddhist cultures” according to the brochure, the program focuses on the philosophy, culture and history of Buddhism in the South Asian area.
Another fall study-abroad program is Arts and Culture in Mali, West Africa, in which students use visual and performance art to create a cross-cultural understanding and develop critical thinking while expanding their creative facilities. Traveling throughout Mali, students take courses on the culture of Mali, apprenticeships, and a French intensive.
Comparative Women’s and Gender Studies involves traveling through five European countries, exploring feminist theory. Students will attend lectures in Berlin, Krakow and Warsaw, Utrecht and Amsterdam, Brussels, and London and conduct their own original field research. Some of the courses include: Issues in Feminist Methodologies, Comparative Feminist Theories, and Situated Feminisms: Socio-political Systems and Women’s Lives. There are eight books on the required reading list.
Offered this spring, Europe in Transition has a new twist: in lieu of the curriculum residing in the Czech Republic and Hungary, it is now in Turkey (along with Poland and Germany, as before) due to Turkey’s move to become a part of the European Union. The program focuses on “challenges of transitions form industrial to post-industrial societies, integration and enlargement of the European Union, and the implications of migration from national and European polities and societies,” as stated in the AEA brochure. “It was based not in experience but in bending to a professor’s whims, academically rigorous, in an un-Antiochian way. I was offered Zyclon-B in my coffee by my host family, who were not an accurate representation of the Polish populace,” says Zachary Gallant, who had an unfortunate experience on this particular program.
The last of the Education Abroad programs is the Brazilian Ecosystems program that focuses on ecology, field methodology and natural resource management in Brazil. In three months, students attend lectures and seminars on restoration ecology and policy, and have the opportunity to meet with indigenous people in order to give a “complete overview of complex issues involved in conservation and natural resource management,” pronounces the program description of the brochure. The program goes through nine sites, including São Paulo and Salvador, Bahia.
Plans for another Buddhist studies program in China that would incorporate martial arts is under way, and may be available as soon as 2010.
If you’re interested in Education Abroad or have any questions or problems, the AEA office is located in the North side of the Main Building, third floor. The deadline for Spring 2008 programs was October 1, and the deadline for Fall 2008 programs is March 1.