This summer, Warren Wilson College offered its first WorldWide course with travel to Tibet. The sixteen students in REL377: Religious and Cultural Heritage of Tibet spent the spring semester examining the philosophies and practices of Tibetan Buddhism. In May, the group, led by religious studies professor Hun Lye and director of student activities Dustin Rhodes, traveled to Lhasa, the center of Tibetan culture for the past fifteen hundred years. From Lhasa, they embarked on a rugged journey to remote hermitages and holy sites, sacred lakes, hot springs, and ancient temples.
Senior biology major Celia Barbieri said, “There are memories, smells, tastes, and sounds that I will always remember fondly. Drinking butter tea, or trying to politely decline, in a room full of monks. Incense and smoke offerings on the top of mountains. Our fearless and amazingly kind tour guide and driver hanging prayer flags over cliffs. It feels like the past three weeks have been a lifetime. I felt like I learned so much from the Tibetan people.”
Through the WorldWide program, every qualified student is offered the opportunity to travel off-campus on a cross-cultural educational experience. WorldWide course options change from year to year depending on the academic interests of faculty leaders, staff and students. In addition to Tibet, WorldWide course participants in 2005-2006 traveled to Scotland, Thailand, South Africa, China, Italy, England, and Costa Rica.