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Cultural perspectives class spends Spring Break in Jamaica

By: Ben Vigliarolo

It’s not too often that students get to travel to another country as part of their class. However, for a couple of Trine University students and their professor, they were able to travel to Jamaica for Spring Break and an experience of a lifetime.

Jenny Serrano, Michelle Thrasher and Emily Wilson all joined their professor, Brandy DePriest, in traveling to Jamaica for their class called “The Cultural Perspectives Honors Seminar”. This trip also included Luke Martin, Trine University business administration major, who was not in the class, but joined the class in their travels to Jamaica. The group all stayed at Zimbali Retreats on the Cannan Mountain outside Negril.

At first glance, one may think that this class would be easy as you get to go to Jamaica for homework. However, it is far from that, as all the students had to do an extensive amount of research about the Jamaican culture before heading for paradise.

Said Michelle Thrasher, HAC communication major, “We did research on different aspects of Jamaica such as traditions and customs before leaving for Jamaica.”

The collective effort contributed to traveling to Jamaica must not go unnoticed, but when the group of five returned back home, the trip did not end in terms of classwork.

Jenny Serrano, exercise science major, stated “We have to each write reflections about the trip, and we are also making a video with all the pictures and smaller videos we each took.”

That video that the group is creating will be shown at SPEAK’s Earth Fest event that will be taking place on April 22 at the Briali Vineyards and Winery. The reflections by the students will be completed throughout the later part of spring semester.

When the students were asked what they did in Jamaica, a common response was the Rasta Tour that they were able to partake in. In fact, Emily Wilson, biology major, said that the Rasta Tour was her favorite part of the trip.

Wilson explained, “My favorite experience was taking the Rasta Tour, which consisted of a Rastafarian man named Fire leading our group up the mountain, telling us about the land and traditions, and when we finally reached the shack at the top of the mountain, he made lunch for us, Rastafarian style.”

Luke Martin also added his favorite part of the trip in that, “Zimbali has 7 acres on Canaan Mountain, where they have very fertile soil and grow an assortment of fresh veggies and fruits with no pesticides. This allowed us the opportunity to have farm-to-fork breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day.”

Clearly, this opportunity is one that is unique for a class at Trine University. When the students were asked whether they would recommend this class to other students, all of them were in complete agreement saying yes and that this was eye-opening experience.

However, Wilson put it best acknowledging that you need to have a certain passion to want to take this class and take this trip. Wilson said, “I would encourage anyone who is open to exploring different cultures to take this class because it was a fun, educational, and humbling. However, I would say that you have to be comfortable going out of your comfort zone to go on a trip such as this one.”

In the end, if you are looking for a class that will help you expand your knowledge of the world, think about enrolling in “The Cultural Perspectives Honors Seminar” taught by Brandy DePriest.