"Life-changing," "transformative," inspiring," these are the dramatic descriptions that often excitedly tumble forth when students return from immersion trips. And, for most students, stepping outside of the classroom is one way to makes these hyperboles a reality.
“The trip makes the course; you don’t truly understand Japanese culture until you actually go there. Just sitting in a classroom doesn’t give you a good understanding.” says Biology senior, Dane Brooks.
As part of IDS 360: Contemporary Japan and Its Roots, Mount students were given the rare opportunity to travel to Japan. Led by instructors Helen and Stephen Rindsberg and Dr. Jennifer Morris, the 12 day trip immersed the students into Japanese culture, allowing them to experience the history, art, and language.
While every Japanese language student dreams about such an opportunity, when it materializes one is hardly prepared. Destiny Griffith, a junior majoring in Athletic Training, has always been fascinated by Japanese language and culture. She was finally able to put her 12 years of studying Japanese language to the test.
“I've always been interested in the language and culture; when the opportunity presented its self, I immediately jumped on board!” said Griffith.
Through the tireless efforts of the instructors, a grant of $35,000 was awarded by The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership to support travel costs. The purpose of the trip was to identify major historic, artistic and religious developments on pre modern Japan and their influence on contemporary Japanese and Japan. The trip also compared historic, artistic, and religious developments in Japan and America.
“I gained a proper understanding of the Japanese perspective on respect, hospitality, and spirituality,” said Griffith.
For Dane Brooks, his daily conversations with his homestay host mother, amplified his views of the world and his open-mindedness of all people.
“No matter where you go, people are always the same. There are always good people, it doesn’t matter what race you are or what religion you practice; we all are the same.”