Course on migration caps spring semester with simulation of migrants’ journey

20160427-4_Migrant-Walk_27The students and instructors of the “Inequality, Gendered Violence and Migration in Guatemala” course, taught by Lecturer Luz Porras and Professor Anne Roschelle, closed their semester with a public walk exploring the migrants’ journey to the U.S.

The experimental learning exercise, following a circuit across the SUNY New Paltz campus and into the Village of New Paltz, was designed to let students put themselves in the shoes of the vulnerable individuals who cross national borders in search of a better life. It was organized in partnership with the Walk Exchange, which seeks to provide educational and creative enrichment through walks open to the public.

“This is an interdisciplinary group of practitioners, including people from arts and geography backgrounds, who come together around the act of walking for creative purposes,” said Dillon de Give of the Walk Exchange. “We feel that walking can provide a totally different way of knowing and feeling the journey of displaced migrants than simply reading or researching.”

The course exists in part to prepare students who wish to participate in the “Guatemala: Human Rights and Social Justice” summer study abroad program, a unique opportunity directed by Porras and Roschelle that mixes historical and cultural learning with engagement in volunteer activities.

“This was an amazing class, with interesting readings and films and some great guest speakers, including some who spoke to us from Guatemala via Skype,” said Timothy Allan ’18 (Sociology).

Allan will join the group of students who will study abroad in Guatemala this summer. “It’s cool taking a class that has an end goal, like being prepared to travel to Guatemala and work to support a community center there. I’ve approached this class with more passion and purpose than I might have otherwise, and I’m looking forward to applying what I’ve learned.”

More information about Study Abroad can be accessed online.