DBU Launches Global Studies Program

DBU launches Global Studies Program

Standing on the rocky hill where Paul preached the resurrected Christ to the ancient Greek philosophers of Athens. Visiting the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives where Jesus agonized in prayer on the eve of His crucifixion. Wandering through dark, underground catacombs in Rome, while learning about early Christian persecution and martyrdom. Studying the Founding Fathers on the cobblestone streets of Boston or among the magnificent monuments of Washington, D.C.

More than printed words in a book or lectures in a walled classroom, the opportunity to study history right where it happened brings world-changing events and people to life in a unique and transforming way.

For many years, DBU has provided travel opportunities for students through mission trips and classroom experiences, yet this spring, DBU launched a new initiative to develop a centralized approach to these trips as a part of DBU's Global Studies Program, headed by Dr. David Cook, Dean of Global Studies and Pre-Professional Programs.

The unique goal of the program is to combine academic enrichment with opportunities for serving others in the spirit of DBU's long history of sending students around the world to serve missionally with local churches and schools. Both short- and long-term study abroad courses in the Global Studies program, ranging from one week to a long semester, afford students a more intensive cultural immersion in a host country. Some trips provide class credit in a foreign language, in business studies, or other disciplines; others allow students to experience international missions and service in partnership alongside other believers; and still more provide an opportunity to serve while learning—whether teaching ESL to students in China or assisting the ministries of a local church in Germany.

"While many universities have study abroad programs," explained Dr. David Cook, "we have a vision to create programs where students can both study and serve abroad. We would like to partner with local churches and Christian schools in various countries to create programs where our students can learn, serve, and develop a love for the culture in which they are living."

Among the first of the new initiatives to be offered in the coming year, include study aboard mission trips overseen by Chris Holloway, Director of Global Missions, to Brazil, Spain, and Hungary, where students will have the opportunity to love God with their minds as well as their hands and feet.

In addition to these mission trips, students will continue to take part in immersive experiences that allow them to see the people and places they are learning about in the classroom. Recent DBU graduate Justin Myers ('19) took part in a trip to Germany led by Dr. Cook that connected students with the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation.

"We traveled to several cities in Germany studying Martin Luther's life, ministry, and theology during the Protestant Reformation," said Myers. "We learned so much about this period of history in the very places that it occurred. A group of professors, not just one, led the trip and lectured according to their expertise. Both these aspects of our time in Germany bolstered my learning in a way that the classroom alone simply could not provide."

Spencer Hamilton, in reflecting on traveling to Boston to study founding leaders of our early American Republic said, "Learning about the founders of our nation and great thinkers of the time, whether sitting on the Harvard lawn or walking the streets of Boston, provided an incredible learning experience that brought academic learning to life. Even when the lectures ended, the learning never stopped."

Founded with four basic principles in mind—experience, explore, learn, and serve—the Global Studies program seeks to transform students through enriching their worldview academically, culturally, and spiritually by engaging their minds with knowledge of world history, developing within them an appreciation for cultural diversity, and preparing them to be servant leaders in today's globalized world in the unique vocations to which God calls them.

"I am excited about these future possibilities, as they represent a way for DBU to continue to provide opportunities for students to develop a deeper love for God's world and the diverse people groups He created," said Dr. David Cook.

Written by Dr. Michael Whiting

Dr. Michael Whiting is the Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.