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Roberts, Román lead trip to Mexico

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by Jennifer Parsons
Editor in Chief

University of La Verne students have the opportunity to take a Mexico Study Trip as a January interterm course next year.

The trip will take place Jan. 8-28, 1999, and will be led by Debbie Roberts, Protestant campus minister and director of peace studies, and Davíd Román, adjunct Spanish language instructor.

After being part of the Vietnam trip last interterm, Roberts “was looking for another opportunity to promote the peace studies minor in spirit of our own mission statement.”

“The trip to Vietnam changed our lives, transformed us,” said Roberts.

Last spring at the Peace Fair, there was a potluck where the Vietnam trip was discussed, and Román and Roberts began talking about working together on a similar trip.

Román has taken groups from other universities on trips such as these many times. Last summer, he took a group of 55 Native Americans on a trip to Mexico.

“This is an opportunity to experience another culture and become aware socially and politically of Mexican culture and diversity,” said Roberts.

Participants will travel to central and southern Mexico, including Cuernavaca and Chiapas.

Students will live with a host family, many of which are relatives of Román, meet key political figures, visit famous and developing sights, and gain insight into the Mexican culture.

They will also be expected to attend lectures regularly, participate in group discussions, read assigned books and articles and keep a journal of experiences and reactions to sites and group discussions.

Not only is the course, Humanities 320, worth three semester hours, but it is also possible for students to earn up to five credits. The class also fulfills the Service Learning and Core 300 requirements.

According to the class syllabus, “this course is designed for students who have interest in the current and past history, culture and politics of Mexico and its relationship to Latin American reality. Interest in the Spanish language is also necessary, though fluency is not required in order to participate in the course.”

Translators will be provided for students with little or no Spanish speaking experience.

Total cost for the trip is $1,300, and includes travel, room, board and luxuries. A $400 deposit is necessary by Nov. 7. Roberts said that Financial Aid can distribute loans to some students. The goal is to take 15 students on the trip.

“We are especially interested in students who are interested in building bridges between cultures, or who are interested in a peace studies minor,” said Roberts.

Roberts and Román plan to speak with the Latino Student Forum next week to encourage them to take part in the trip.

“Many members have Mexican roots but have never been to Mexico,” Roberts said.

“It’s an experience of a lifetime, immersing yourself in culture, hands-on experience on making things happen. You can’t help but form community [with other students on the trip] that would not have been formed seeing each other in day to day classes,” said Roberts.

“It is important for students to be part of this globalization of economy. It is important to know other cultures-not through the Internet or virtual reality-but in person,” said Román.

“There are all kinds of segments of cultures within cultures. We are in an environment where ULV promotes abroad experiences in order to come back enriched and wiser,” said Roberts.

“Students will be leading the world in the next century. They need to be aware of the importance of keeping diversity of cultures of this world instead of trying to impose one culture in the world and take advantage of this diversity of cultures,” said Román.

For more information about the study trip to Mexico, contact Roberts at ext. 4320 or Román at ext. 4359.

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