Tabor students packing for January interterm trips

Tabor College professor Frank Brenneman (center) and students Ivana Gunawan and Valerie Burns listen during their interterm trip to Southeast Asia last January as the guide to the Khoo Kongsi clan-house in Penang, Malaysia, explains how forefathers of the Khoo family emigrated from South China and built the structure for members of the Khoo family in 1851. Brenneman and Tabor professor Aleen Ratzlaff will take five Tabor students on a 23-day trip through Southeast Asia again this interterm.

More than 40 Tabor College students are packing up for trips to several different locations for interterm in January.

Richard Kyle, Tabor professor of history and religious studies, is preparing to lead his 22nd international trip over interterm, taking 33 Tabor students to Europe during the one-month academic term.

The group will tour the major historical, cultural and religious sites of the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Germany, the Vatican City and Italy.

Within these countries, the cities of London, Paris, Zurich, Munich, Venice and Rome will be highlighted.

In addition to experiencing the sights and sounds of Europe firsthand, students will read books, listen to lectures, write reports, take a test and write a journal to earn either history or religion credit.

Participating students include: Scott Adrian, Wichita; Jordan Allen, Hillsboro; Chelsea Badgley, Wichita; Sarah Baffa, Olathe; Corrine Bannon, Wichita; Michael Brendemuehl, Westerville, Ohio; Travis Buckley, Wichita, John Buehrle, McPherson; Daniel Carlson, McPherson; Chris Cook, Abilene; Zach Coon, Nickerson; Cody Dick, Buhler; Micah Grafton, Wichita; Roman Hofer, Newton; Daniel Jackson, Derby; Kelli Just, Hillsboro; Abby Loewen, Huron, S.D.; Tony Loewen, Huron, S.D.; Shelby Miller, Byers, Colo.; Jordan Nuss, Wichita; Rebecca Pederson, Gretna, Neb.; Megan Peters, Shafter, Calif.; Zach Peters, Shafter, Calif.; Jason Reiswig, Wichita; Evan Sanford, Bakersfield, Calif.; Audrey Schellenberg, Wichita; Ashley Schmidt, Wichita; Megan Schuckman, Wichita; Tori Truesdale, Winnebago, Ill.; Matt Vaughn, Joes, Colo.; Maggie Weinman, Wichita; LynAnne Wiest, Kingsburg, Calif.; and Janelle Winger, Wichita.

A group of students from Tabor and Bethel colleges will travel to Israel and Palestine Jan. 2 to 24.

Douglas Miller, professor of biblical and religious studies at Tabor, and Patricia Shelly, professor of Bible and religion at Bethel, will sponsor the group. Shelly lived in Israel for some time and is a licensed tour guide.

This is the first year the trip has been offered through Tabor.

Students will come to understand the religions of the Middle East, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and biblical texts in their historical and geographical context. They will also share times of worship, silence and reflection on the day’s events.

The group will explore major landmarks such as Petra in Jordan, with Nabatean and Roman ruins, Masada, the last Jewish stronghold at the time of Jerusalem’s destruction by the Romans, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Holocaust museum, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Mount of Beatitudes and the Jordan River baptismal site where Jesus was baptized.

“Students (will) have a chance to learn some basics about the land,” Miller said. “You don’t know a place until you get there and see it.”

Other activities will include conversing with locals to better understand daily life, visiting synagogues, mosques and temples, visiting the Dead Sea and taking a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.

“I’m hoping that the value that the students find in the trip will generate some ongoing interest,” he said. “It offers the opportunity from a number of dimensions to be a great educational experience.”

Tabor students who plan to travel include: Meghann Eblen, Leavenworth; Ben Friesen, Guthrie, Okla.; Emily Hasty, Ashland; Leah Rose, Halstead; and Brandon Voth, Lynden, Wash.

Seven others will travel with Jim Elliott to Chicago Jan. 3 to 15.

Elliott earned both his undergraduate degree and graduate degree in the Chicago area, and taught this class while working for Huntington University.

“Two students in that class ended up getting jobs at places we visited, so it provides practical networking for students in addition to course credit,” Elliott said.

The 12-day communications course is titled “Exploring Religious Media” and will take the group to a variety of Christian media and ministry organizations.

“The idea is for us to explore how media are being used in furthering the kingdom of God,” Elliott said.

“That ranges from traditional media like television and radio and print to non-traditional means such as the Cornerstone Music Festival (a large Christian music festival held in southern Illinois every July).

“We’ll visit Willow Creek Church, one of the mega-churches in the country to see how they incorporate media in their ministries at a church of 20,000 people.”

The group will spend three nights at Jesus People USA and will complete a community service project while there.

“Students will be journaling their experience and will have a team project due at the end of class,” he said.

Also included on the trip are visits to the facilities of magazine “Christianity Today” and publishing companies Intervarsity Press and Tyndale House Publishers.

“At every place, we’ll have the opportunity at every place for a Q-and-A as far as how to break into these industries,” he said.

The majority of those participating are communications majors or have a different major with an emphasis in communications.

Participating Tabor students include: David Campbell, Wichita; Andrew Corl, Abilene; Kelsey Daugherty, Hutchinson; Melissa Nickel, Ulysses; Janae Rempel, Meade; Brianne Tucker, Wichita; Joseph Wuest, Ridgecrest, Calif.

This year will also mark the fourth trip to Southeast Asia led by Frank Brenneman, professor of mathematics, and Aleen Ratzlaff, associate professor of communications.

The group will travel Jan. 4-27 to the countries of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan .

The objectives of the trip include understanding aspects of major world religions, such as Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as cultural and communcation patterns and norms that are part of high-context cultures.

“It’s important for students broaden their persective of the world,” said Ratzlaff about the trip. “They will have a wonderful opportunity to be immersed in non-Western cultures.”

The trip’s itinerary includes visits to urban centers, temples, mosques, history ad art museums, and an overnight trip to a longhouse village inhabitied by the indigenous Iban on the island of Borneo.

At the Iban village, hosts will demonstrate their native dance as part of a welcoming ceremony.

“I think (the students) really enjoy that,” said Ratzlaf. “It’s a truly unique experience.”

Modes of transporation for the travelers will range from mass transit to boats and rickshaws to elephants.

Ratzlaff said she won’t miss the fridgid temperatures of Kansas..

“We won’t wear a jacket while we’re there, and we’ll wear sandles,” she said. “It will be a nice way to spend January.”

Tabor students participating on the trip include: Ben Hlad, Sylvan Grove; Karis Jost, Hillsboro; Natalie Regier, Madreid, Neb.; and Mindy Tharp, Ft. Hood, Texas.

Chantel Regier of Madrid and Amanda Edington, who is teaching English in China, will also be part of the group.

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