Ready for a Global Society
June 3, 2013
Preparing students to function well in our globalized society has been an issue of great importance for many U.S. colleges. Whether in a work or ministry environment, Kuyper graduates could very well find themselves speaking with someone from India in the morning, a Canadian in the afternoon and an Argentinian in the evening.
To address this issue, Kuyper has recently added an intercultural immersion requirement to the academic courses needed for graduation. Recently four Kuyper faculty members—Kai Ton Chou, Lisa Hoogeboom, Carol Hochhalter and Teresa Renkema—made a presentation at the International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education (IPACHE) conference about the process of implementing this unique type of requirement for all students. At Kuyper, the resulting course structure encourages the creativity of the professors in ensuring that during their college careers all students will have guided, engaging and meaningful interaction with individuals from different cultures.
Some of the classes will take place overseas in countries like Guatemala and Israel, while others will take place closer to home, as in the case of the Islamics class where students spend time in the city with the largest Muslim population in the U.S.—Dearborn, Michigan. There Kuyper students meet with Muslim students and visit a mosque.
What makes the intercultural immersion class so unique is that each class is designed to offer a combination of orientation to the culture—“face-time” with people from the culture and time to reflect on the experiences. Each of these elements lays out the biblical foundations which help students deepen their understanding of people and practices of a different culture—beginning to see that God desires to be in relationship with all people, no matter their background or culture.