Our Costa Rica study abroad students are set to return soon and we're bound to get some beautiful photographs and thoughts from them. Internet access in Costa Rica is wonky, at best, so we'll be presenting their adventures once they've settled back at home. In the meantime, here's a Q&A that Dr. Schlueter filled out before he left.
1. How many study abroad trips with GGC students have you been on or have mentored?
This will be my second trip/course that I have lead at GGC.
2. Where did those trips take place (if not all Costa Rica)?
The first trip went to Costa Rica.
I am preparing a study abroad course that spends part of the course in Africa. I hope to have it in place for the summer of 2013 (2014, at the latest). The course will target Kenya or South Africa for the field experience.
In addition, Dr. Anthony Pinder and I am working on possibly combining a service learning experience and biology course that will have a several week experience in South Africa.
3. Are there other study abroad programs you’ve been on with GGC or any other college?
I have led two other trips/courses to Costa Rica at my previous college. The places and activities were different (more of a cultural theme). The course/trip at GGC – BIOL 3050 Tropical Biology - has much more of a biology theme. So the sites and activities are much more in line with a biology or science theme.
4. Did you study abroad yourself when you were in school? If so, where did you go?
While in high school, I traveled with my German class to Germany, France, The Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland.
While in college (graduate school), I traveled two times to Belize (Central America). The first trip was quite intense. We slept in tents in the middle of the jungle. I had several adventures – from exploring newly discovered Mayan ruins in a deep cave with a sacrificial altarto waking up with a large Basilisk lizard sitting on my bed staring at me.
Plumed Basilisk lizard photo by Marcel Burkhard
5. What are the things you hope the students learn that will help them in their future endeavors?
• There is no better place to learn than nature’s classroom.
• From the textbook, students learn the rainforest is hot and wet. It is a completely different experience to stand in the rainforest and experience the humidity and intense sunlight, staring at huge trees and colorful birds, hearing the chattering of monkeys and smelling exotic flowers. Everywhere the student looks there is an explosion of life and activity.
• Students also have the chance to interact with a different culture - to have first-hand knowledge and experience with a different culture and to discuss the environment and local issues with people from a different culture. This experience will put a real face on other peoples only heard about in the nightly news.
• Students also have the chance to interact with different environments (volcanoes, rainforest, etc.).
Thank you, Dr. Schlueter! We can't wait to hear about this trip and see photos of the places visited.