Ruins, ecotourism, and waterfalls: July in Paraguay
|Left to right: Rachel Azuara, Rachel Wymore, Sarah Chenoweth, Steve Harmon, Austin Shain, Catherine Torres, Conner Phillips, and Rithu Chillal.|
This was not Dr. Steve Harmon's first trip to Paraguay, but it was for his students who spent the month of July there visiting that country's attractions.
"Their majors ranged from Spanish Ed to English, but mostly International Studies and History," says Harmon, who himself is an assistant professor in the Department of History with an abiding interest in International Studies.
The group completed a regimen of 10 lectures on topics such as the economy, history, politics, culture, and language along with 10 site visits to places of historical, cultural, political, or economic interest.
"We visited government offices, NGOs, foundations, museums, and businesses," says Harmon.
The lectures and site visits represented the core of the academic component of the program, but in addition to these there were other activities that were very attractive to the students.
"A highlight was a trip to the Ecotourism part at M'batovi," says Harmon. There the group hiked through a mountain rainforest, featuring a canopy walk, rappelling and a zip line. "All of which were very popular with the students."
Other, more traditional activities included a visit to the Falls of Iguazu in Brazil and the Jesuit Ruins of near Encarnacion in southern Paraguay. The group finished up with a week of sightseeing in Buenos Aires.
"In the down times, we visited a range of restaurants in Asuncion and Buenos Aires," remembers Harmon. "The students enjoyed shopping and outings with their host families."
The students, in their post-trip evaluations surveys, reported improvement in their command of Spanish, good rapport with their host families, as well as having a good time with each other and sharing a memorable international experience.
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