As part of the Introduction to Global Perspectives course, which offers students a chance to familiarize themselves with cultures and concepts outside their own, 11 students and two instructors from Fairmont State University spent their spring break in Canada. This trip, which offered many students their first international experience, was funded by a grant from the Consortium for Internationalizing Higher Education, part of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.
“I was proud to accompany the students across the border to learn more about our Canadian neighbors and experience the multicultural city of Toronto. They were brave and respectful, inside and outside their comfort zone,” said Dr. Erin Hippolyte, Assistant Professor French and co-coordinator for the Global Perspectives course with Dr. Sunil Surendran. Hippolyte is also the Study Abroad Coordinator at FSU.
The first stop on their itinerary was Brock University in St. Catherine’s, Ontario, where they learned about the shared U.S.-Canadian history of the Underground Railroad, in part by visiting Salem Chapel, where famous Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman lived, as well as other sites of interest in the area. Professors from the university also made presentations and led discussions with students.
They then continued on to Ryerson University, located in the heart of the multicultural city of Toronto. There the students learned about Canadian media and the history of the city, before being given time to explore the city.
“The most interesting part about my trip to Canada was exploring the various sections of downtown Toronto. Chinatown, Little Italy and Greektown were like little adventures around the world within walking distance of each other,” said Shanna Clark, a junior Biology major. “This was my first international trip, but it will not be my last. This class gives you the confidence and tools to travel out into the world around you, and to explore, then thrive, living up to your full potential in our global community.”
“The most interesting thing about the trip was getting to meet people and get to know them, and most of all, getting to look through their eyes at America. It was an eye-opening experience and I think that many of the people in the class would agree that our preconceived expectations could not have been further from the truth. They have a very different view of America than we do and it is hard for Americans to access that viewpoint without doing what we did, immersing ourselves in their culture and perspective,” said freshman Sean Rafferty, a Political Science and National Security and Intelligence double major.
For more information about other opportunities to study abroad, contact Dr. Erin Hippolyte at email@example.com Details are also available on the LibGuide: http://guides.library.fairmontstate.edu/studyabroad.