Several students at Arkansas State University-Beebe (ASUB) recently participated in an eight-day field trip to El Salvador.
The field trip was led by instructor Eddie Supratman, who teaches world history and comparative religion. English instructor, Mary Comstock, also accompanied the students. Students participating were Marissa Chumley of Russell, education; Cheryl Davis of Cabot, graphic design; Kristen Dixon of Sherwood, animal science; Jayson Olvera of Jacksonville, health science; Chaunte Reid of Cabot, education; William Rhudy of Vilonia, history; Jose Ross of Jacksonville, liberal arts; Brian Staley of Ward, biology; Gayle Tanner of Searcy, environmental science; Myesia Vance of Jacksonville, nursing; Annie Wadley of Ward, liberal arts.
ASUB’s Global Awareness Committee and UNICAES had been participating in a faculty exchange program for the past three years. This was the first time both institutions were able to arrange for a study abroad field trip for students.
On the first day, the U.S. Ambassador Jean Manes greeted the ASUB group via video recording. Ambassador Manes plans to send a group of students from UNICAES (Catholic University of El Salvador) in the Fall 2017. Supratman and Comstock also met with the UNICAES vice president Dr. Moisés Martinez.
The ASUB students stayed in the guest houses provided by UNICAES. Each day, the students participated in cultural and historical related events, such as visiting the Mayan ruins at Tazumal, Casa Blanca, Santa Leticia and Joya de Cerén; indigo workshop; coffee and cacao plantations; Ruta de las Flores (towns with mix of colonial and indigenous architectures); historic Santa Ana downtown; and volcanoes.
Also, the students visited a local orphanage at Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos. This visit was in partnership with UNICAES English Access students. Prior to the trip ASUB faculty and staff donated clothing, hygiene products, and school supplies for the orphanage. ASUB and UNICAES students led activities filled with fun games, eating snacks, and distributing the donated items.
ASUB students also visited the UNICAES students and faculty. Students were guest speakers for several classrooms. During the visit, UNICAES celebrated the “Black History month” in February and ASUB students participated in this program. Also, students Myesia Vance and Chaunte Reid were the keynote speakers before a group of 100 English Access students ages 14 to 18.
The group also attended a lecture presented by one of the Nahua peoples, Ruben Vasquez, a UNICAES student, who spoke about Toltec/Pipil heritage. Another presentation students attended was a lecture on the El Salvadoran culture taught by one of the UNICAES history professors, Mauricio Menendez.
Supratman said, “El Salvador is a beautiful country, filled with many wonderful people. Everyone in the group has been transformed in many ways by going on this trip. It was a once in a lifetime experience with long lasting impacts.”
For more information about programs offered at ASUB, call (501) 882-3600 or view the website at www.asub.edu.
Arkansas State University-Beebe is an operationally separate, two-year institution of the Arkansas State University System. With campuses located in Beebe, Heber Springs, Searcy, the Little Rock Air Force Base, and online, the university offers associate degrees, certificates, and non-credit training for business and industry. The Beebe campus also collaborates with Arkansas State, a four-year university in Jonesboro, to offer baccalaureate and graduate degrees on the Beebe campus. ASU-Beebe is nationally recognized by the Aspen Institute for student success rates.