The RSP aims to combine academic work with service as an integrated whole. Classroom and book- learning equip students for service, which in turn is a stimulus to learning.
All students are required to take at least 4 credits of Romanian Language and Culture and to be involved in some kind of service activity – either through the course Cross-Cultural Service Learning or in the context of a practicum or internship related to their major. Additional liberal arts electives are available for students needing additional classes to make up a full load for the semester.
All students are required to take at least 4 credits of Romanian Language and Culture and to be involved in some kind of service activity – either through the course Cross-Cultural Service Learning or in the context of a practicum or internship related to their major.
Romanian Language and Culture 1 & 2 (4, 6 or 8 credits)
This course is designed to give students tools for communicating in their daily interactions with Romanians: talking to host families, carrying out service activities, developing friendships, shopping, traveling, etc. Classes emphasize practical conversational skills. By the end of the course students should be able to engage in simple conversation on every day topics: family, the weather, shopping, food, hobbies, travel, health and sickness, etc. As Romanian is a Romance language, students have an advantage if they are already familiar with Spanish, French, Italian or Latin.
The aspects of Romanian history and culture included in the course are chosen to enrich the students’ understanding of the people they are living, working and socializing with. Field trips are organized to places of historic and cultural significance.
Cross Cultural Service Learning (4, 6 or 8 credits)
Students not involved in an internship or practicum will be given opportunities to read and reflect on the dynamics of cross-cultural adjustment, communication and service, spending 8-20 hours each week in volunteer work. Students learn through serving others in a cross-cultural context, working alongside Romanian Christians as members of a multidisciplinary, multicultural, multi-confessional team. They put their knowledge and skills to use in ministries run by experienced professionals, learning how to assist in a way that is empowering to Romanians and contributes to sustainable community development.
Much of the students’ work takes place in the context of Veritas, a Romanian non-profit organization which grew out of the service activity of the first Romanian Studies Program students in the community of Sighisoara, and now offers a wide range of educational and social services to the people of the town. Students are encouraged to choose one or two programs in which to serve, according to their interests and skills. They may help in a kindergarten or an after-school program for children or teens from poor, marginalized families; plan and run activities for persons with special needs; assist in a club for isolated elderly; teach English as a second language to children or adults; offer preventative education related to trafficking and domestic violence in a local high school; teach sports or music or acting or creative arts; work in church-related programs for children and youth; help with administrative tasks; develop promotional materials – brochures, posters, videos; teach or train in other areas of expertise. Students with business or medical training can usefully apply their knowledge within Veritas, in the context of church-related ministries, or within business ventures in the broader community.
Weekly class sessions with the instructor will provide a forum for students to learn about cross-cultural differences, and to process their volunteer experiences, with reference to a selection of readings on cross-cultural communication and adjustment, on social justice and different approaches to service. Students will also be expected to keep a journal of their readings and reflections on how they are being impacted by the cross-cultural experience. A final paper is a tool for processing and summarizing learning after the return home.
For more information about service options refer to section on Service, or look at the Veritas website: www.veritas.ro