Study abroad opens opportunity

3,000 miles in three weeks is the proposed trek for an upcoming study abroad opportunity allotted to a selected group of students. The trip’s two organizers, Associate Professor of Religious Studies Eric Mortensen and Associate Professor of History Zhihong Chen, will collaboratively teach for this educational excursion.

“I like to teach with Chen,” said Mortensen. “She is my friend, and I respect and learn so much from her.”

That was the reaction of Mortensen when asked why he felt the collaboration is important to the program’s success.

“Me too, I learn so much from Eric,” said Chen. “We share the same interest in Asian and celestial cultures, so it is great to share in our instruction of our students.”

The trip is an excursion across the historical Silk Road in China. Beginning in Beijing, one of China’s major educational centers according to Mortensen, the group will travel by train, bus and even camel across the desert regions of the Silk Road, exploring and learning along the way.

Mortensen and Chen explained the availability of several opportunities for the students to apply the knowledge gained in class in the exact lands they have learned about prior to the trip.

“Our goal as teachers is to get you excited about learning more about a subject after you leave the classroom,” said Mortensen. “If we are able to accomplish that, we all win.”

There are two four-credit courses which Guilford students interested in participating in this opportunity may choose between in order to be eligible for the trip, HIS 250/REL 250 The Digital Silk Road. One of these must be taken in the spring semester 2018.

“I think this will be an educational experience of a lifetime. I am really interested in going,” said junior Grace Sanabria. “I have already discussed everything with my parents, and I hope I am able to take part in this opportunity.”

The trip is worth four credits aside from credits from the aforementioned courses, so combing credits from the HIS/REL 250 courses and the actual trip, a student will earn eight credit hours.

Departure for the trip is set to take place on May 7, 2018.  There will be learning sessions on the trains and buses between stops along the 3,000 mile educational adventure, which will be completely digital.

There is a website that was created by the students on a previous opportunity a year ago and will be updated with every opportunity hereafter. The students involved in the upcoming excursion will have projects due that will help add to the site, silkroad.guilford.edu.

Any students interested in learning more about this opportunity to study abroad in Beijing, China are encouraged to email Eric Mortensen or Zhihong Chen. There will be two more information sessions held. The first will be on Wednesday, Nov. 1, and the second one will be on Monday, Nov. 6, both from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in Dana Hall, room 212.