While the majority of campus will return after Christmas break, two Tabor College students will be making their way across the ocean for their semester study abroad.
Jodi Warkentin, a senior from Wichita, and David Penner, a junior from Hillsboro, will be spending the spring 2004 semester immersed in a new culture.
Warkentin, a Spanish and communications major, will study Spanish in Costa Rica through the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) Latin American Studies Program (LASP).
“I love the language,” said Warkentin. “If I could study anything, I’d study language. And if I could study language, I would study Spanish.”
Because LASP is one of the few Spanish-speaking programs, it is difficult to be accepted.
“It’s a very highly competitive program,” said Howard Keim, vice president of academic affairs. “Many students want a Spanish-speaking program.”
Warkentin will reside with a host family for the duration of her stay. She will study the Spanish language, take an interdisciplinary seminar and focus on a specific concentration: Advanced Language and Literature.
Through this study, Warkentin hopes to help bridge communication barriers.
“I want to help people understand each other,” Warkentin said. “If it takes learning multiple languages, then that’s what I’ll do.”
Penner, a mathematics and philosophy major, also looks forward to traveling to Budapest, Hungary, for a semester of intensive mathematical study.
“The rigorous academic environment is something I am looking forward to particularly, but I am also looking forward to experiencing the Hungarian culture,” Penner said.
He will live with a host family for the semester while experiencing the mathematical as well as the general culture of Hungary.
The Budapest program is through Budapest Semesters in Mathematics and consists of mathematic courses such as number theory, mathematical logic, set theory and modern algebra as well as Hungarian language courses and European history courses taught by Hungarian professors.
“Budapest has a reputation for being the best place in the world to study theoretical mathematics,” said Penner. “Hence going to Budapest is a great opportunity for me given the possibility of my going to graduate school in mathematics.”
According to Keim, the Budapest program is also a highly competitive program for students to be accepted into.
“David is a good fit because he is bright and is also interested in both math and philosophy,” Keim said. “I think it will be a great experience for him.”
Each year Tabor sponsors one to three students and pays the difference between Tabor tuition and the chosen international school.
For the 2003-04 academic year, Tabor is sponsoring the maximum number of students. Matt Regier, a senior humanities and philosophy major, also completed a CCCU program during the fall semester at Oxford University in England.
“I think it’s a great thing for students to be able to do,” Keim said. “It speaks highly of both the students and faculty when a student of ours is admitted to programs like these.”
CCCU and other organizations sponsor many international studies programs as well as educational opportunities in the United States that are open for student applicants.
“I would like to see more people at Tabor taking the many opportunities there are available to study in the context of another culture,” said Penner. “In my opinion, if one desires to minister to the world, it is essential to have experienced the many perspectives that exist in the world.”