By Levi Jiorle
The first Provost’s Colloquium showcased the China and Cuba trips.
The series was started off with a brief message from Provost Jo Bruno. She thanked everybody for being there, and explained how important these international trips are for the student body.
Professor Annie Mendoza and Professor Tim Connolly were the main presenters of this colloquium. They went on the Cuba and China trips. Professor Nancy VanArsdale also went on the Cuba trip with Mendoza.
Mendoza mentioned how it was nice to visit so many places outside of just the Cuban capital. They not only traveled to many different regions, but also learned about Cuban art and literature.
“One of the other elements to our trip was basically learning about literature and culture,” Mendoza said. “A lot of times, when people think about Cuba and the arts, it’s really kind of just music, maybe dancing, but all types of artistic outlets are produced in Cuba.”
They met Cuban sci-fi writer Jose Miguel Sanchez. “He is Cuba’s foremost science-fiction writer,” Mendoza said. Sanchez came down to the hotel they were staying at and had an informal Q-and-A session with the students. He has written novels such as ‘Super Extra Grande’ and ‘A Planet for Rent’.
Connolly was the last presenter of the night. He explained that everybody should try to go on an international trip.
“You see, there are only two kinds of people,” Connolly said after asking the crowd if they’ve been to foreign countries before, “there are people that have never been on one of these trips, and there are people who have been on the trips, and they say they were awesome.”
He showed pictures of China, in particular Shanghai, throughout different decades in history. The first one he showed was from the 80s, while the other one was from 25 years later. These pictures exemplified the global development Shanghai has experienced over time.
Thomas Stocker, a student that went to Cuba, mentioned how he read a lot about Cuba before he embarked on the trip.
He explained how a nation under Communism rule is often viewed with a negative connotation, but upon experiencing the country first-hand, it really opened his eyes to the reality of the nation, especially within a present historical context. He found it fascinating to compare Cuba’s history books to the ones he has read in America.
Both of the professors agreed that the best part of the trips was making long-lasting friendships with the natives of each particular country.
The next Provost’s Colloquiumwill be Sept. 27 in Beers Lecture Hall.
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