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Study Abroad Program



Study Abroad Program

Dr Blake Duffield is doing something remarkable in CBC history: starting a study abroad program. First up on Dr. Duffield’s agenda is taking students to Europe this summer. Erik Holth, CBC Public Relations Officer, interviewed Dr. Duffield about this new program. “This all started from my own experiences,” said Duffield. “I had the opportunity to travel abroad several times when I was in graduate school and it took me to six or seven different countries in Europe. It was a life changing experience for me, and the first time I got to go outside of the United States. To come into contact with the artifacts and all the other things that I saw, as a historian, was really, really impactful for me. It broadened my horizons and made me feel that, when I got the opportunity, I wanted to share this experience with students, so that they can have the same kind of opportunities and experiences.” Duffield has been to countries such as England, which is his favorite, Italy, France, Germany. He said that having these experiences is important for students because “there is no shortage of evidence right now, of what’s going on in the world, from a contemporary perspective of the divisive nature that reigns in our country right now. I think we could all use a broadening of our horizons. It brings things to life. It is one thing to teach about the Mona Lisa and show it on a PowerPoint, but it’s entirely different actually seeing it. I have been talking to a group of students who are interested in going and telling them that putting your hand on the Coliseum in Rome is a poignant thing. There are few times in life that one is capable of traveling abroad. The earlier the students can have these experiences, it won’t be so scary for them in the future. To get over those hurdles early on, and prepare them for mission work and that sort of thing, is very important.” Dr. Duffield has been mostly to Western Europe, but has also spent time in the Caribbean and in Central America. When asked about the importance of learning about other cultures, Duffield replied “one of the things I emphasize in all of my classes is cultural awareness creates empathy. At the end of the day, we are all in this together, all human beings, all created in the image of God and we, as Christians, are called to love people. What better way to love people then to get face-to-face with them. I think a lot of times in today’s climate, the easier thing to do is to isolate people. I can’t think of a better way to interact with people and find out about them and to spark a connection and become better in a lot of ways.” Duffield also elaborated on the educational benefits of travelling abroad. “Employers love to see students who have travelled abroad and love to see students who have had “globalization”. This experience shows a broadness that can’t be acquired by just staying in their home town or just in Arkansas or even in the United States.” Duffield also believes that travelling abroad can help understand the cultures that international students live in. He and his wife, who works at Hendrix College, host an international student from Scotland. He believes that it helps students get comfortable with others that may not speak their language or understand their culture. Duffield came to CBC after graduating with a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas, and then teaching a class in Fayetteville. When asked why he chose CBC, he said “I don’t know if I chose CBC or if CBC chose me. I came from a relatively small university and earned my undergraduate degree at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia. That’s where I developed a love of teaching, a love of history and a love of close knit environments, like the environment at CBC. When I was in graduate school, I didn’t know where God was going to lead me or what He had for me. I knew from an early age that I wanted to teach and wanted to be at a place where I could develop relationships with students, and that’s hard to do when you have large class sizes. I am fortunate that God has provided a great work place and a great environment for me to teach at CBC.” When asked if he had a piece of advice to impart to students, Duffield responded: “It doesn’t matter if they walk away with one bit of history, as long as they recognize that Jesus is Savior and Lord and come away with an understanding of the Gospel. That’s our entire reason for being here. If I can show them that or they pick that up through being in my classroom, then that’s a win. I also want them to learn that history is relevant in our day-to-day lives. I can think of no other time in my life where that’s truer than right now.” For more information on the Study abroad trip, current students can visit Dr. Duffield in his office in the Cooper Complex in LC 106. Applications are due by November 1. Prospective students can reach out to Dr. Duffield by emailing him at bduffield@cbc.edu.

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