Crash Course on Culture
Matthew Mosher put new skills he had acquired as an Anthropology major to the test during a summer break by travelling to West Africa to work with young people in the country.
He was chosen to teach anthropology as part of the Saint Mary’s Mini-University, a recreational and educational program aimed at 10 to16 year-olds from The Gambia (one of Africa’s poorest and smallest nations). Matthew and another Saint Mary’s student spent a month in The Gambia teaching university-related skills, such as research methods and organizational skills, through the theme of urban sustainability. Then it was the young Gambians turn to travel to Halifax where they were given a crash course in university life on the Saint Mary’s campus. Matthew says his background in anthropology made the experience even more enjoyable as he had the opportunity to learn of another culture and different ways of seeing the world.
As for Saint Mary’s, Matthew says what he most liked about the Arts program was the “integrated nature of the social and academic spheres among the anthropology students (in particular). Such an arrangement facilitates learning and removes education from a strictly classroom setting.” He was also impressed by the role the faculty played in his educational experience. He says faculty concerned themselves with all aspects of a student’s progress “enhancing the quality of the overall university experience.”
The variety and quality of the courses offered by the Anthropology Department is impressive according to Matthew. “We are fortunate at Saint Mary’s in that we have faculty members who specialize in each of the sub-divisions of anthropology – archaeology, physical, linguistics and socio-cultural anthropology.”
He was impressed with his professors’ “involvement, dedication and willingness to share their experiences and insights with their students. They include their students in the educational process, whether in the classrooms or in their own research.”
Matthew had to juggle his academic life with his family life. He and his wife are both students and they have two children, so balancing the needs of their children with their studies was challenging but rewarding. Matthew was accepted into three graduate programs and has chosen the Master’s program at Trent University with his sights set on becoming a professor.
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