Many college students dream of spending their summers backpacking through Spain, or trekking across a volcano in Iceland. Honors students at Northeastern University are getting to do just that.
This summer, with help from the University Honors Program, more first year Honors students are getting a taste of life as a global citizen than ever before. With passports in hand, over 650 Honors students are travelling abroad this summer, and more than half of those students are doing so after just completing their first year at the university.
In line with university goals, the Honors Program is committed to supporting students’ experiential learning by making global opportunities possible. Through scholarship support from the Honors Program, and in collaboration with the Global Experience Office, first year Honors students are spending their summers participating in Dialogues of Civilization in thirty different countries, in places such as Argentina, Chile, Japan, Morocco, and South Africa.
Two Dialogues of Civilization, in particular, embody the spirit of global experiential learning in an Honors context. The Summer I Honors Dialogue, Religion in Spain: From Moorish Rule to Christian Pilgrimage, which just concluded, took students on an educational – and literal – journey across Spain as they participated in a 175 mile pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. While completing this physical and spiritual quest along with Professor Liz Bucar, students learned about the interactions and tensions between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and the challenges created by ethnic plurality.
A bit farther north, Honors students traveled to the cities of Dublin, Derry, and Belfast on the Honors Dialogue Storytelling, Landscape & Contested Identities in the North of Ireland. Students learned about the power of storytelling, for both individuals and communities, and its role in peace and reconciliation. While on their Dialogue with Honors Writer-in-Residence, Michael Patrick MacDonald, students explored the contested identities of Northern Ireland and met with community partners, including the Mayor of Belfast.