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Summer session students head to Barbados

Feb. 14, 2005

By Breana Krotz

Some Ohio University students will head south for the summer to Barbados for sand, sun and learning. Summer sessions provide a unique and exciting opportunity to explore the cultural diversity of the Caribbean region during a two-week program titled, "Caribbean Encounters," which takes place July 22 to Aug. 2.

The program teaches students about the racial, ethnic, linguistic, social and cultural diversity of the area while providing them with an opportunity to explore the region firsthand. The three-part program is designed to enhance learning and understanding of the Caribbean culture in its actual setting.

"We're hoping students will gain an understanding of and appreciation for the diverse and fascinating multicultural history of the region, take part in celebrating the Barbadian culture with students from all over the world and bring back a knowledge enriched by the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the island," says Pam Brown, director of Ohio University summer sessions and special programs.

Students will engage in discussions about history, geography and the culture of the region through organized lectures. The lectures will highlight topics including, mythologies, leadership, musical traditions and gender politics of the Caribbean.

Following classroom discussions, students will attend "Soundscapes: Reflections on Caribbean Oral and Aural Traditions" conference, where they will learn about Caribbean culture from Caribbean theorists, historians and practioners.

"Students will be able to see the interconnection between the oral and aural traditions of the African diaspora in the Americas. By participating in this conference, students will meet their Caribbean peers and have an opportunity to explore at the theoretical and applied level the diversity of Caribbean (English, French, Dutch, and Spanish) oral and aural expressions," says Vibert Cambridge, African American Studies chair. "They will be in a position to make connections with patterns in North America and expand their appreciation of the dynamics of the New World."

The two-week excursion will finish with the celebration of Crop Over, an annual heritage festival that celebrates the end of sugarcane harvesting. Similar to the celebration of Mardi Gras, students will participate in an extravaganza of food, music and tradition.

"It (Barbados) has many linkages with the United States -- Benjamin Franklin learned his printing trade there. Many of the original settlers of South Carolina came from Barbados. Barbados has the oldest parliament in the Americas. In addition, Barbados has a wonderful infrastructure, is safe and will have a major cultural festival happening at that time of the year," Cambridge says.

"The Barbados program could be beneficial and interesting for a wide audience and includes professionals, undergraduate and graduate students," Brown says. "Those who might benefit most are those interested in African American studies, music, theater, art, dance, all foreign languages, all communications studies, English, sociology, photography, international education, linguistics and geography."

For more information, visit www.ohio.edu/summer/Barbados/ or e-mail summer.sessions@ohio.edu.

Breana Krotz is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.

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