Global Studies Opportunities Expand at Bethel

Bethel University is proud to announce expanded global opportunities through its newly developed Global Studies program, according to school president, Dr. Walter Butler.

     “We’ve had a very strong service learning program for the past several years that has included a component where students travel to different countries,” Butler said. “Those experiences have been quite successful through the efforts of Stacie Freeman, an associate professor of sociology at Bethel. And because of that success, I am very pleased to announce Ms. Freeman as the Director of Global Studies at Bethel. She is definitely the right person to carry this program to the next level.”

     “This is very exciting,” said Freeman. “Over the past six years, I have led 91 Bethel University faculty members, students, alumni, family members and friends on global service learning trips to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia and Cuba. We have logged more than 5,700 hours of service, and the economic impact to our host communities has been more than $134,000. We will be able to have an even greater impact with expanded opportunities.”

     “When Global Service Learning at Bethel began, it was just me working with BU students as they studied various cultures, took part in global service projects, and earned credit for sociology” Freeman said. “However, along the way we’ve been able to form partnerships that have allowed us to get to this point – of creating a truly multi-faceted global studies program.”

     Bright Light Volunteers is one such partner.  Freeman states, “When I decided to travel with students to Cuba, I contacted BLV’s founder Catherine Greenberg, a dear friend and colleague with over a dozen years of experience coordinating international service experiences for students.  The doors to Cuba had just opened and she was one of the very first to enter.  Planning to travel there, I sought her wisdom on how to proceed.  Through a series of conversations, it became apparent that a partnership between BU and BLV could be very productive for all parties involved.  In March, 2016, BU partnered with BLV to offer our first global service learning course in Vinales, Cuba.  Since then, we have worked with Bethel University’s Dual Enrollment program to offer area high school students the same opportunity.  Presently, Bethel and Bright Light are developing plans to extend the reach of BU’s Global Service Learning Program to dual enrollment students across the nation.

     “The second component of Bethel’s Global Studies program involves long-term study abroad,” Freeman said. “Our partner for this endeavor is the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES). As a result of this partnership, Bethel students will soon have the opportunity to study in dozens of countries around the globe and they can choose from roughly 130 academic programs.”

     Freeman said those interested in long-term study abroad should contact her at freemans@bethelu.edu.  “If long-term study abroad is something that a student is very interested in pursuing, I encourage the student to begin the process sooner rather than later,” Freeman said. “The application process is quite extensive and could take up to a year to complete.” 

     “We have other interesting opportunities developing in the Global Studies program as well,” said Freeman. “For instance, we are investigating the potential for BU to offer faculty-led, short-term study abroad trips and an exchange program.  It is very exciting to see us starting down this path.”

Posted by Jennifer Glass at 9:44 AM

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