Cowboy Journal v2n1

Page 22

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Thirteen OSU forestry students didn't cake exams in one course last spring. Instead, they ordered meals from their professor, got vaccinations and hiked in rain forests. Tom Kuzmic, associate professor of forestry, invited students co cake FOR 4493, Internacional Forestry and Natural Resources. He designed the course co provide an international experience in a natural resource setting. le allowed students co explore culture and forestry on campus and in Honduras. "It's a nontraditional course with a nontraditional field trip," Kuzmic said. A grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture allowed Kuzmic co initiate the course. The 13 students wrote an essay co be selected for the class and embarked on "an adventure of a lifetime." "I had never traveled outside of the country, so I thought it'd be fun. Central America wouldn't have been my first choice, but for some reason I thought it was interesting," said Todd Burton, forestry junior. During the first eight weeks of the semester, students participated in Kuzmic's "very experiential" course chat required creativity and active participation in nontraditional lectures. Kuzmic's goal was co introduce students co Honduran natural resources and culture. A representative from the Center for Internacional Trade and Development visited the class weekly to teach basic Spanish.

Kuzmic and ocher guest presenters addressed survival skills. A highlight of a preparatory class was when Kuzmic dressed up co play the role of a waiter and cook orders in Spanish. Students also learned how co ask for necessaty things (like the bathroom), what vaccinations were necessary and what cultural differences co expect. "Dr. Kuzmic gave us a good background. I felt really prepared co understand the Honduran way oflife," said Charles Gosset, forestry junior. In addition co the preparatory research, students also committed co complete a class portfolio of four assignments: a research paper, an oral presentation, a creative component and a journal. Kuzmic said he designed the work load co establish a foundation of knowledge about Latin America and co prepare chem for the adventure ahead. Students selected topics for research papers and creative components at the beginning of the semester. They conducted initial research at OSU, and the rest was obtained in Honduras. Kuzmic said he designed it chat way co encourage students co ask questions while in Honduras. Creative components included Web sites, slide shows, a video and magazine articles. Gosset had a unique creative approach. He helped co develop and lead a cultural program at a forestry school in Honduras. "I played 'Home on the Range' and 'Take Me Out co the Ball Game' on my guitar and presented a slide show on U.S. life," Gosset said. Upon their return, students completed the final course assignment by relating their adventure co community organizations. ''An international experience is not complete until you've shared it with ochers," Kuzmic said. "Everyone changed a liccle. I wanted chem co share chat change to take the first seep in making a global impact." The 10-day trip was the focal point of the class. It was scheduled during Spring Break, so students missed only rwo days of class. A packed schedule, described by some as "way coo exhaustive," allowed the students co expe-


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