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Lehigh students join U.S.-Indonesia partnership

Fulvia Vargas '12, left, and Anne Marie Kerchberger '13, back, visit with students at an Islamic boarding school in Indonesia.

This month, two students from Lehigh are joining peers from the University of Michigan and Universitas Gadjah Mada in Indonesia on an exploration of democratic society and religious pluralism.

Anne Marie Kerchberger ’13, a biology major, and Fulvia Vargas ’13, a global studies major, are traveling with two students from Michigan and four from Indonesia, as well as faculty facilitators from each university.

The group is visiting religious sites and communities, schools, and cultural and historical landmarks in Indonesia, Michigan and the mid-Atlantic region. The four-week trip will culminate in an Independence Day celebration on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The trip offers a new model for study abroad that moves away from “intellectual tourism.” Because students from both countries are traveling together, they can learn from each other, as well as from their experiences.

It’s also a pilot for larger projects involving more university partners and more students, and it’s representative of President Barack Obama’s commitment to increase educational exchange between the United States and Indonesia.

You can follow along on the trip by visiting the students’ blog.

Story by Emily Groff

Posted on Monday, June 20, 2011

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