Complementing the European study abroad experience, another term of SSU’s degree program is devoted to travel and study in the developing world, usually in Southeast Asia. This travel term includes significant cultural exposure, as well as formal study of history, culture, and contemporary social, economic and religious issues of the region.
In their second year, SSU students visit Thailand and Cambodia. This travel term really helps put ‘Western’ culture into perspective. Accommodations vary from being billeted with a Thai family to staying in hostels. Meals are generally provided by hosts, or eaten in local restaurants. This experience gives students a unique opportunity to witness and partake in the day-to-day life of local people.
The Asia Study Abroad Program is usually undertaken in the second year of the BA program at St. Stephen’s University. The program develops an understanding of the histories, philosophies, cultures, religions, languages and the arts of Southeast Asia.
Students undertake preparatory work prior to their departure, continuing their studies while abroad under the supervision of SSU instructors who travel with them. On their return, students complete their academic requirements back in Canada.
This study abroad experience constitutes a full term of interdisciplinary, cross-cultural study: five 3 credit-hour courses. Pedagogically, the program is structured around lectures at SSU and at Asian partner universities, on-site presentations by local experts, student-led seminars, field-trips and projects carried out by students individually and in small teams. Notwithstanding the specialized content of each course, components of the Asia study abroad program complement one another and students are expected to make these interconnections while they compare and contrast Southeast Asian societies with those of the West.