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Building the Global Village

This "May Term" international course, which incorporates service learning, provides an opportunity for students to both learn about the global dimension of poverty housing and contribute to its solution.

Students will begin the course in McDaniel Europe (Budapest, Hungary), where they will study both public and private responses to the issue of affordable housing in Eastern Europe. From there, they will travel by to Beius, Romania, an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International's (HFHI) Global Village Program.

Under the direction of Professor Jim Kunz and Barbara Thomas (McDaniel College Trustee with extensive experience as a Global Village Team Leader), students will spend a week in Beius, working on a variety of tasks, including new construction of single and duplex wood frame houses and home renovations and repairs (no construction experience necessary).

HFHI describes Romania as a place "where medieval life meets modern times; a land with majestic, natural beauty, a rich cultural heritage and a history still alive in, and sometimes haunting, the present." However, 35 percent of Romania's housing stock is in a state of complete neglect and needs urgent repair, while over 25% of the population lives in poverty.

Beius is a small town of 12,000 inhabitants located in the northwest of Romania’s Bihor County, near the Romanian-Hungarian border. The town is located in a beautiful valley, with many villages surrounded by mountains. Beius has a rural feel, and one should not be surprised to see a wagon with horses crossing through the town.  Founded in 1996, HFH Beius became the first Habitat affiliate in Romania and has since provided 100 families in the Beius community with safe, decent, affordable shelter. Partner families pay back the home mortgage over 20 years at no interest and invest 1,000 hours of sweat-equity labor on other Habitat homes.

At the conclusion of their Global Village experience, students will return to Budapest, where they will have a chance to both individually and collectively reflect on their experiences, discuss how their volunteer work has informed and/or changed their views on poverty housing, and discuss ways to sustain a commitment to addressing housing issues beyond the conclusion of the course.

This course will be open to three groups of students: (1) "Westminster students" who are studying in Budapest in Spring 2013; (2) "Westminster students" who would join these students in Budapest; and (3) "McDaniel Europe" international students.

Tentative Course Schedule

Monday, May 20 – Wednesday, May 22: Trip preparation for students not studying at McDaniel Europe in Spring, 2013.  Preparation includes a tour/orientation to Budapest and McDaniel Europe, class meetings and presentations about poverty, housing, and Habitat for Humanity International.  (McDaniel Europe 2013 students will prepare for trip in weeks leading up to the end of the semester.)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

  • Depart Budapest, Hungary
  • Travel to Beius, Romania
  • Arrival at Beius, Romania
  • Welcome and Orientation with Habitat host program staff member
  • Dinner

Friday, May 24 – Wednesday, May 29, 2013

  • Breakfast served before traveling to worksite
  • Work from 8am-4pm with lunch on site
  • Free time after work to clean up
  • Dinner in local restaurants
  • Time for team activities

Thursday, May 31, 2013

  • Depart Beius, Romania
  • Travel to Budapest, Hungary
  • Reflection on HFHI experience

Special events throughout the week

  • Cultural experiences with affiliate staff, such as market tours, museum visits, etc.
  • Walking tour of host city
  • Final team dinner/celebration (Wednesday, May 29)

COURSE LOGISTICS

This class is capped at 13 students.  A $200 non-refundable deposit must be paid by
November 2, 2012.  Current estimated costs (subject to change):

  1. HFHI portion of trip: $1,280
  2. Budapest portion of trip: $400 (not applicable to Spring 2013 McDaniel Europe Students.)
  3. Transportation/Airfare to Budapest, Hungary (students are responsible for arranging, and paying for, transportation to Budapest, Hungary)
 
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