Twenty years ago, straight classroom lecturing was the norm, patterned after the Ivy League schools. But today, students are no longer content to be mere observers of political events. Now they want to experience firsthand the last holdouts of a socialist society, such as that found in Cuba. They want to talk with political dissidents and consider the stands they have taken. They want to question Australian and Fijian government leaders as to official policies made with respect to indigenous populations. They want to spend time one-on-one with aborigines in an attempt to more fully understand their plight.
Because of this, the study tours, offered by the History & Political Science Department have gained a great following-- not only for political science majors but from a wide cross-section of campus. Established in 2002, the first overseas learning experience was to Cuba; with a return trip in 2003 because, at that time, the US government granted a two-year license to travel to this otherwise illegal destination. In 2004, the tour traveled to Australia and Fiji with specific intent to study government's treatment of, and response to, indigenous populations.
Each study-tour includes a service component--Bibles, clothing, medicine and computers were delivered to Cuba, and assistance was given in constructing three churches in Camaguey. The students helped with the reconstruction of the Vatuvonu SDA School in Fiji, badly damaged by a recent cyclone. They also delivered elementary school books, medicines for the local community clinic and clothing. As a result of this study tour, one of our students, John Davidson, returned to Fiji as a student missionary. There is much to look forward to and enjoy as our students take advantage of the richer learning experiences provided by study tours.