Editorial: New Orleans class is good addition to off campus studies

A new class is being offered for the summer of 2014 to take place in New Orleans. The course will be three weeks long, similar to the Bucknell-in Summer Programs hosted by the Office of International Education. We believe that this class has a lot of potential for students to expand their depth of learning at the University.

The course only spends one week in New Orleans, but that week seems to be extremely busy with a diverse amount of activities. During that week, the mornings will be spent working for Habitat for Humanity in St. Bernard’s Parish, one of the most destroyed areas after the hurricane. This opportunity for service learning will make a great addition to the two trips to New Orleans that the University already has through the Hurricane Katrina Recovery Team. This is also a way for students to work together for a common goal of helping out those in need, which is what the University teaches us through our time here. After that, the afternoons will be spent touring social engineer attractions, like the rain pumping system. While this sounds intense, we think it would useful for students not only to know this for their lives after graduation, but also to understand the dramatic effects the pumping system had during the hurricane.

At the end of each day, students will get the opportunity to meet local musicians and attend performances. New Orleans is rich in musical culture, and will give them a great taste of the uniqueness of the music. The blend of service along  with the local culture will give students an opportunity to immerse themselves in the New Orleans community.

This class will be beneficial for people who want to study abroad but cannot afford to go to places outside of the country. Only one week of the course takes place in New Orleans, which cuts down on finding a location to house everybody for an extended period of time. We understand that students will have to pay summer tuition for the program, and we are assuming they will also have to pay for their living space on campus during that time. While that may take away from the abroad experience to an extent, they are still getting an experience to study in a place that is different than the University.

We definitely think students have a lot to gain from an abroad experience, and this New Orleans experience is no exception. We think it is beneficial to also send students to places in America because there is a lot in this country that many people haven’t seen. With the majority of the students being from the northeast, it will be beneficial for students to see what life is like in the south and how it differs to their lives at the University. Overall, we think this is a great experience and gives more options for student involvement.

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