For many students, spring break is a time to re-connect with family, take a break from school or work some extra hours to pay the rent.
However a growing number of Blugolds use their time away from campus to participate in a variety of domestic intercultural immersion experiences offered by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Through classes or projects, these students, along with faculty and staff mentors, will travel to various parts of the state or country to learn more about themselves and the world around them.
A domestic intercultural immersion experience at UW-Eau Claire is defined as a guided, critically-reflective intercultural experience outside the classroom designed to challenge and transform students' perspectives regarding cultural norms and values. These experiences are open to all UW-Eau Claire students, and many are made possible by the Blugold Commitment differential tuition.
Alison Wagener is among the students who will spend their weeklong break immersed in new experiences that she hopes will help to challenge and transform her thinking. She will travel to Milwaukee with her education studies class, taught by Dr. Eric Torres, to volunteer in an urban K-8 school for the arts and to participate in cultural experiences in Milwaukee.
Through the class, Wagener will gain hands-on experiences that will compliment what she has been learning in the classroom, as well as complete 15 hours of service learning.
During her time in Milwaukee, Wagener will blog about her experiences on UW-Eau Claire's Tumblr page, myuwec.tumblr.com. Through her blog, she will share what she's learned from being immersed in urban classrooms, and share the stories and experiences of other students who are joining her on the trip.
While Wagener and her classmates will head to southern Wisconsin for their domestic immersion experience, many other Blugolds will travel to other destinations within the state and throughout the country.
Examples of other domestic intercultural experiences offered this spring break include:
- Selma Project: Fifty students, including four student leaders, will travel to Selma, Alabama, to learn about the city and its role in the Civil Rights Movement. The Selma Project was initiated by several students who previously participated in the Civil Rights Pilgrimage and were intrigued by the city of Selma. The immersion will be led by Joshua Nesja from the Blugold Beginnings office.
- Civil Rights and American Memory: Dr. Erin Krutko Devlin, assistant professor of history, will take students enrolled in her spring Civil Rights and American Memory history class on the spring Civil Rights Pilgrimage.Students will do many of the same activities as all students on the pilgrimage, but they'll also participate in other activities and studies specific to how histories of the civil rights movement are contextualized and memorialized.
- Sustainable Portland: Students will travel to Portland, Oregon, to explore human justice dimensions of environmental sustainability and reach a more sophisticated understanding of what it truly means to be "sustainable." The immersion is led by Dr. David Soll and Dr. James Boulter from the Watershed Institute.
For more information about UW-Eau Claire domestic intercultural experiences, contact Shanti Freitas, intercultural immersion coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-836-6037.