March 01, 2016
Communications and Marketing
More than two dozen Saint Anselm College students are spending their spring break traveling abroad as part of two global seminar courses: Medieval Philosophy and Historical Perspectives on Health, Welfare, Disease & Society. In the Netherlands students are learning about Dutch culture and discussing medieval philosophy while nursing students in Italy are exploring the history of the nursing profession.
Both groups are traveling Feb. 26 to March 6 accompanied by their course professors. Throughout the week, students will explore a variety of historical sites and continue their course studies, while experiencing the countries' culture first-hand.
Global seminars are short-term courses that are offered during the spring semester and summer school. Spring semester courses combine classroom instruction throughout the semester and include an international component during spring break. The global component enables Saint Anselm students to expand classroom learning, experiencing first-hand the content they learned on campus.
Philosophy in the Netherlands
The 12 students traveling to Nijmegen, Netherlands are accompanied by philosophy professors Robert Anderson and Joshua Tepley. Since the beginning of the semester, the Saint Anselm students have been linked online with Professor Bakker's Medieval Philosophy course from Radbond University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. The week abroad gives the students the opportunity to meet their Dutch peers face-to-face.
Chair of the Philosophy Department, Max Latona, said the two courses require the students to interact intellectually and response to each other's questions: "In class, the students share common readings, exercises, and prompts online."
The trip itinerary includes a variety of traveling and philosophical engagement with the Dutch students, along with exploring Nijmegen by bicycle, having the option to city walk in Utrecht or Cologne, Germany, and touring various sites in Amsterdam.
Anderson believes the traveling component adds an important piece to the course. His hope is that the students will gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the Dutch culture.
"The Middle Ages is a concept in a bunch of words that have a reality behind them. By traveling, students can see where these concepts originate and flourish," Anderson said. "The Dutch have preserved this culture, celebrate it, and have made it available to others."
Nursing in Italy
The second course, co-taught by professors Margret Carson and Kathleen Cahill, takes students to Rome and Florence, Italy, where they are studying healthcare from a historical perspective through examining the concepts of disease, contagions, hospitals, and mental and public health.
Through a required study abroad experience, nursing students are assigned to journal their observations and make connections back to their course learning. During their 10-day tour, they are exploring historic hospitals to discuss the development of healthcare, and then active hospitals to interact with Italian nurses and residents. Included in the hospital tours, students are taking notice of the physical structures, learning how healthcare was once delivered, and discovering first-hand what healthcare is like in another country.
Professors Carson and Cahill believe it is important for their students to take a historical approach on nursing.
"You learn a lot about something when you look at it historically," Carson said. "What lessons do we learn on how to improve something? What can we learn to not make those same mistakes again?"
"It's interesting for us to look at things from a different perspective, to go to the root of where that history is and see how far we've come in a particular discipline," said Cahill.
The trip itinerary also includes touring the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, Saint Peter's Basilica, and the Uffizi Museum as well as day-trips to the towns of Siena, San Gimignano, and Lucca.
Follow the students' adventures on the college blog.
Story by Liliana Kane '16
Photos: Top: Students enjoying canals in Utrecht; Bottom: Nursing students at Trevi Fountain in Rome