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Academics are not only an important part of the ATW experience, they often involve some of the most exciting adventures. Classes are often held "on location," meaning that students discuss and learn about a historical document in the very place the text was composed. The ATW learning community is an adventure in itself because most students have never shared an identical class schedule with 25 of their closest friends. There are no shallow, meaningless "group projects" rather, ATW collaboration is faculty-directed, accountable, and motivated from within the team. The students come together to accomplish a staggering academic feat, reading thousands of pages of primary sources and writing over 100 pages of research and creative analysis. The aim of the ATW professors is to prepare the students to solve complex issues by guiding them through a multidisciplinary curriculum that will sharpen and expand the students' intellectual capacity.
The courses listed below will inform and inspire you along your journey around the world. Papers will be written on tablets and texts read on Kindles so you can save space in your backpack.
The Postmodern Novel course leads students into direct conflict with some of the most pressing and controversial political and social issues of each country. Readings, lectures, discussions, and assessments engage important tools from postcolonial theory and technical literary analysis. Students will finish the class with a new set of analytical tools with which to attack and digest literature from a diverse cultural landscape.
The Epic Literature course engages some of the oldest, most foundational ideas of each culture. This course will study the literary and sacred masterpieces from the countries visited during the Around-the-World semester and examine these texts in light of their historical context, literary technique, the role of religion, and the question of personal and national identity.
This course will introduce the basic concepts of international service and development projects as it prepares students for the rigor and routines of the Around-the-World Semester and gives students the tools to begin studying, serving, and traveling for eighteen weeks abroad.
Students will study theories of cross-cultural adaptation, acclimation, and assimilation in this course. Occurring before their departure for the study-abroad country, students will be better prepared to make the transition to their new home and develop an awareness of others and self, and become more effective observers of internal (intra-personal) changes, and external (inter-personal) discovery.
The globalization of organizations, public and private, and their multicultural make-up requires today's citizens to have a solid cross-cultural competence, involving an understanding of one's own culture and communication preferences, identifying others' preferences, and having a flexible behavioral repertoire to bridge cultural differences.
This course will provide specific applications for learning a new foreign language and understanding English structure and usage, including sound system, word formation, grammar, syntax, expression of meaning, variation, etymology, and/or change; cultural and artistic uses of languages; and comparison of oral and written aspects of language.
This course is meant to bring the practical service experience to students as they take responsibility for a variety of service projects that will challenge them, not only as they prepare ahead of time for outreach, but also as they adapt to sharing messages of love and forgiveness.
The Travel Writing course involves reading and creating nonfiction essays in the style and fashion of great artistic legends like Graham Greene, Paul Theroux, and Pico Ayer, as well as current artists like Rolf Potts and Jan Morris. Students learn and practice ethnographic research and backpack journalism as they write about thirty-five pages of essays, profiles, literary journalism, and reviews. Assignments will require students to observe and engage with people in various countries where they are volunteering and studying.
Dr. John Norton