Bluefield, WV. ~ From August 3 – 18, 2018, 2018, Bluefield State College (BSC) hosted a cultural immersion study tour of southern West Virginia and southwest Virginia for two English major students, Adriana Aleixo and Tobias Batista, from UNICENTRO, BSC’s institutional partner in Brazil.
Adriana and Tobias learned about American family life as home stay guests of Dr. Martha and David Eborall in Salem, Virginia.
During the first phase of their two-week study tour, Adriana and Tobias attended the Stepping Out music, arts, and crafts festival in Blacksburg, VA and hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail with BSC’s Brian Foy. They also found time to shop in the Historic Roanoke Farmer’s Market and attend a music concert in downtown Roanoke. With Dr. Eborall as guide and with BSC student Brady Shrader as a traveling companion, they visited the National Mall, National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., and visited the National Aquarium, World Trade Center, and Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland.
During the latter phase of their visit, Adriana and Tobias learned about the former coal barons of Bramwell and met Amish farmers in Burke’s Garden. They visited various college and university campuses in West Virginia and Virginia.
They also attended the Friday Night Jamboree in Floyd, Virginia where they experienced Appalachian bluegrass and gospel music, flatfooting, and square dancing.
The students also sat in on classes taught by Communications Professor Dr. Bonnie Reese; Environmental Science and Biology Professor Dr. Martha Eborall; and, English Professor Dr. Sudhakar R. Jamkhandi.
Adriana and Tobias invited students of these classes and SGA officers to UNICENTRO, where education is free, and they also encouraged BSC students to sign up for Dr. Eborall’s environmental science study abroad program slated for May 2019.
“We will welcome you to stay in our homes,” Adriana told students of Composition I and the SGA. Tobias concurred and described the Foreign Friends initiative—comprised of UNICENTRO students who know foreign languages besides Portuguese--whose sole purpose is to make foreign students feel welcomed and feel at home in Brazil.
This study tour reflected the intent to engage in collaborative activities outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding between Bluefield State College and UNICENTRO. Adriana and Tobias not only enjoyed a personal visit, but they will take home course syllabi and textbooks to help them in their study and teaching of English.