||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
UW-Eau Claire Students Take|
Service Learning to Latin America
MAILED: April 8, 1999|
While the tropical climate of Latin America makes for an ideal setting to take a vacation and relax, four students from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will head there this summer with other intentions.
The four seniors will take part in the university's maiden voyage of a service learning program in Latin America, which will have them volunteering in several community-oriented activities in Mexico, Paraguay and Costa Rica.
UW-Eau Claire students who will participate in the program for about eight weeks this summer are secondary education major Catherine Brockman, Eau Claire; English literature major Kristina Herman, Duluth, Minn.; French and Spanish education major Jamie Sucharski, Delavan; and biology major Heather Dubiel, Eau Claire. The students will work in teams with students from Kansas State University where the program originated.
Activities during the program will include working with summer youth programs in Iazamal, a town in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, helping with recycling and solid waste disposal projects in small communities in Paraguay, and giving support on a variety of environmental projects in San Carlos, Costa Rica.
For Dubiel, who will volunteer in Paraguay, each day that passes is laced with anticipation for the upcoming trip.
"I'm counting the days," Dubiel said. "I'm doing as much research as possible to learn about Paraguay and the type of environmental project in which I will be participating."
While in Paraguay, she hopes to further explore the dynamics of a developing country.
"I would like to be a part of their development," Dubiel said. "I want to leave Paraguay with the knowledge that I have assisted the village in meeting its goals through education without attempting to alter its cultural values or ideas."
A future member of the Costa Rica team, Sucharski said this opportunity will allow her to become a better Spanish speaker and to gain an understanding of a different culture.
"I expect to be of some benefit to the people I work with, and I expect in turn to bring back what I learn from them to share with others," she said. "I have high hopes that this will be a wonderful experience for everyone involved."
Dr. Robert Burns, director of UW-Eau Claire's Center for Service Learning, said the students will help people in Latin America help themselves.
"The students will be working with local communities to address issues reflecting their capabilities," Burns said. "They will also learn about a different part of the world and will find out about different cultures."
Before they depart for Latin America, the students will participate in a number of seminar classes this spring to prepare for the trip, he said. Next fall the students will again meet to reflect on the service learning experience.
"This will be a life enriching process for all the students involved," Burns said.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: April 8, 1999