Engaging across differences is part of the Concordia College experience, and each summer for nearly a decade, Concordia has taken that experience to India, in the form of two-week certificate classes taught by Concordia faculty and staff.
The classes are filled with students of Concordia’s educational partners: Sri Krishna Arts and Science College in Coimbatore, and Woman’s Christian College and Ethiraj College for Women in Chennai. As the program’s reputation has grown, enrollment has too, hitting a record 1,052 in Coimbatore alone this year. Offerings this summer include Women’s Leadership, Creativity, Business Development, Global Citizenship and Digital Marketing.
For both teachers and students, learning begins right away as they begin to navigate the wide gulf in expectations and etiquette between the Indian and American classroom. American teachers are surprised at the respect shown by Indian students, who address them as Sir or Madam and rise when they enter the room. Indian students are surprised at teachers who laugh with them, share personal stories and ask for the same in an effort to get to know their students.
Indian students often express how engaged they feel in the interactive American-style classroom, where they may be asked to present to the class or participate in group activities. American teachers are impressed with their students’ ability to memorize content and quickly recall facts. All return with a new – or renewed – appreciation for the cultures, religions and traditions that make up the complex and exquisite Indian world.
The Creativity class taught by Concordia’s Associate Director of Creative Services Amie Hollmann has drawn a record number of registrants. She said: “On the first day of class I asked students to fill out cards describing themselves, what they’re studying and why they enrolled. The responses were really fascinating and there was so much interest in creativity and design. One student wrote ‘This Moment You Own It.’ The summer program is the embodiment of Concordia’s Where Worlds Meet ethos, and I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from these wonderful students.”