"We intend to graduate persons with a global perspective who are competent, caring, creative, generous persons of character and potential." (from Anderson University mission statement)
IntroductionAnderson University's TRI-S (Study, Serve, Share) program provides opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to learn and serve in cross-cultural settings. It is a program that integrates theory and practice in extending the classroom to different parts of the world. The TRI-S program was begun in 1964. Since its beginning, over 17,000 students, faculty and staff have participated in this program. Each year over 400 persons participate in the TRI-S program. TRI-S groups have traveled to Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and have worked with Native Americans and other ethnic groups in the United States and Canada.
BackgroundSpecifically, TRI-S programs for learning and serving include construction projects, teaching in elementary schools, caring for orphaned children, and helping with community development projects. Students serve in distant places such as the jungles of Peru, villages of the Caribbean, rural communities of Uganda, and the great urban centers of the world. Participants care for the sick in clinics and hospitals in Hong Kong, Korea, and Honduras. In India, students assist the Missionaries of Charity in caring for the destitute and dying in Calcutta. Educators tutor and teach in England, Taiwan, and Egypt. Volunteers support community development projects in Belize, Egypt, Brazil, and with Native Americans in the USA. Prospective ministers lead youth camps, vacation church schools, and ministry in Finland, Australia, Germany, and England. Musicians and dramatists tour with music and plays throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
In addition to the service projects, TRI-S programs also provide opportunities to study the culture of a particular society. Cultural study programs include a wide range of learning experiences focusing on language, history, geography, art, music, and the customs and worldview of a people group. Cultural information, insight, understanding and awareness are primary objectives of these programs. In the cultural learning programs, art majors travel and study in France and Italy, foreign language majors live with host families in Europe and Latin America and business majors meet with industry leaders in Japan, Korea and Europe. Literature and drama students study in England and teacher education majors observe and participate in classrooms in England, Scotland, Bolivia, Haiti and Grand Cayman. Political science majors deal with issues of international relationships and conflict resolution in Northern Ireland and the Middle East.
Although each TRI-S program is unique, most consist of ten to fifteen students and a faculty or staff leader. Prior to departure, the group will meet four to five times for cultural orientation and preparation for travel. Participants prepare for their TRI-S experience by reading and studying about the history and culture of the country. Also, groups will meet regularly during the time of their travel to discuss their experiences, thoughts, and feelings.
PurposeThe TRI-S program provides a cross-cultural learning/service context to support the following objectives:
- The integration of faith and practice in service to humankind.
- The formation of a moral and ethical foundation for a lifestyle commitment of service to humankind.
- The development of a theoretical framework from which to interpret and understand culture.
The learning of concepts and skills to analytically reflect on
the cultural themes of one’s own culture and the culture of other
- The learning of concepts and skills essential to cross-cultural communication.
- The formation of a global perspective with regard to current national and international issues.