Dr. Thandi Dinani, Belmont study abroad director, and Drs. Mitch McCoy and Sally Holt, Belmont faculty who lead the Belmont in Spain – World Religion and Identities Maymester in Spain, recently had articles published in the journal “Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad.”
Dinani’s article, “Faith Development While Abroad Amongst African American Students,” explores scenarios of students exploring their faith while studying abroad. The article also describes how study abroad programs provide opportunities for self-exploration and personal development, enhance cognitive and affective skills and increase cultural empathy and intercultural awareness of participants. Studying abroad has been marked as a natural transition period (similar to leaving home for college, traveling or moving from one community) that provide students opportunities to interrupt reliance on external authorities and reflect on their own value systems and beliefs.
McCoy, assistant professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and Holt, professor in the College of Theology and Christian Ministry, co-authored “Convivencia, Abrahamic Religions and Study Abroad in Spain,” which details the genesis and evolution of their annual Maymester study abroad program. It describes how they weave international travel with carefully selected readings and classroom discussions to introduce students to the concept of ‘convivencia,’ the living together of Jews, Christians and Muslims in medieval Iberia. Additionally the article considers how Iberian religious plurality influenced daily life and sacred spaces, how it shaped individual and collective identities and how it challenged notions of hospitality and tolerance.
“Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad” is an open-access, peer-reviewed academic journal that communicates the latest research on education abroad within a multi-disciplinary forum to reflect on critical issues and concerns for academics and professional practitioners. It is published by The Forum on Education Abroad.