Providing an opportunity for international students to experience various facets of American history and culture, several Ouachita Baptist University students and sponsors recently traveled to Little Rock for an experiential learning trip.
The seven international students and three leaders had the opportunity to visit the Arkansas State Capitol, Arkansas State Fair and Heifer International as part of this semester’s American History and Culture course.
“I really enjoyed that day,” said Maciej Braciszewicz, a freshman business administration major from Olesnica, Poland. “I appreciate the Grant Center giving us the opportunity to do and see very cultural things in America.”
“Experiential learning is invaluable,” said Amy Garrett, assistant director for the Grant Center for International Education. “At the Capitol we were able to see how the different parts of the government function together, which was especially pertinent since we’d recently been discussing the Constitution and the varying levels of government.”
While at the Capitol, the students who also are studying English as a Second Language were able to witness a press conference by Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and visit with state senators including Jason Rapert and Ouachita alumnus David Sanders.
Students also had the opportunity to tour Heifer International, where they were able to see how the organization is helping make a positive impact by sharing resources and providing education to those born into poverty around the world.
“The Heifer project allowed them to understand how a world-class non-profit service organization operates and to gain an appreciation of how they teach people to become self-sustaining in their work and living,” explained Ian Cosh, vice president for community & international engagement.
The group also attended the Arkansas State Fair to experience food, rides and exhibits as well as watching the professional bull riding circuit perform at Barton Coliseum.
“Students had a variety of experiences including trying fried ice cream, riding the Ferris wheel and watching the livestock shows and bull riding,” Garrett said. “The State Fair is uniquely American.”
“It’s important to remember that we’re providing a complete language immersion experience,” Garrett added. “Getting off campus and out into the culture itself provides the chance to use English in a relevant and hopefully interesting way.”