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Bringing learning alive

Fall 2012 | Archives

Bringing learning alive

Every summer for the last four years, the Lakota Nation has welcomed a dozen or so MCC students to live with and learn from the Lakota people of Rosebud reservation in South Dakota.

“Studying abroad is often a defining moment in education that changes one’s life,” said Barbara Velazquez, coordinator of international/intercultural education at MCC. “This extraordinary opportunity is made possible by MCC’s colleagues and friends in the local Native American communities.”

Upon arrival in Rosebud, students learn to set up their tipi camp from the facilitator of the experience Steve Tamayo, traditional arts instructor at Sinte Gleska University and consultant to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Students also learn about tanning hides and using the tanned leather to create traditional Native American crafts like dreamcatchers, moccasins and parflesche containers.

This unique immersion experience also includes lectures and cultural instruction from Lakota elders and faculty members at Sinte Gleska University. Students also visit Sinte Gleska’s buffalo herd and travel to Pine Ridge, the Badlands and Wounded Knee Memorial.

“There is something extremely potent about having faculty and students explore the application of classroom concepts and theories outside the classroom,” said Velazquez. “This trip brings learning alive, creating experiences that are life-changing and have the potential for diverse application across curricular topics and life experiences.”

MCC aims to make studying abroad accessible to students—giving them global experiences to enhance their degrees, careers and personal lives. MCC’s first faculty-led study abroad program began in the early 1990s in Belize, where six students participated in a photography expedition. Since then, short-term, faculty-led experiences have expanded across continents, including China, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, Mexico and Thailand.

For more information about MCC’s credit courses abroad, visit
resource.mccneb.edu/cca. If you are interested in contributing to MCC’s intercultural travel fund to help future students with credit courses abroad experiences, make a donation to MCC’s Foundation.

Special thanks to MCC’s Financial Aid department for assisting students’ access scholarships and title IV funds for these important academic experiences outside of the classroom and their communities.

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