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SLU Students Travel to South Africa to Study Globalization

A group of 20 Saint Louis University students — along with their professor, David Borgmeyer, Ph.D. — recently traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, to join peers from universities around the world for a course titled "Conversations in Globalization." Borgmeyer is an assistant professor and the director of SLU’s Center for International Studies.

Students from all five institutions pose for a photo at Robben Island, South Africa.

Students from all five institutions pose for a photo at Robben Island, South Africa. Submitted photo

The SLU students met with contingents from Stellenbosch University, the South African host institution; the University of Stuttgart in Germany; St. Xavier's College, a Jesuit college in Mumbai, India; and Ulsan National University of Science and Technology in Ulsan, South Korea.

Borgmeyer and his international colleagues led the students through an extended week of lectures, presentations by South African guest lecturers, intensive field visits and research, and small group work on topics that included sustainability, culture and identity, technology and public health.

"One of the things that is so special about this course is that the SLU students don't just see globalization through their own eyes, but also through the eyes of their peers from Germany, India, Korea and South Africa," Borgmeyer said.

The group also had the opportunity to get out and explore South Africa, including a tour of the prison on Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years.

Students who participated in the course found working with and learning with students from four different continents and many different cultures challenging but tremendously rewarding.

“The biggest lesson I would say I learned was that regardless of where we come from, we all have dreams and we all have fears,” said Sean Hynes, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Those are very human qualities that are not unique to any singular group of people.”

Hynes learned about the course while researching the international studies major and knew it was something he wanted to do. He is now a triple major studying economics, Spanish and international studies.

“The trip and the course showed me just how similar we all really are once we look past the differences that may have once been separating us,” said Hynes.

This is the ninth year overall and the sixth year that SLU has been a part of the program. Overall, nearly 200 students have completed the class and it has directly led to several new international agreements and exchanges for the University. Plans are underway for future iterations of the course including a program hosted by SLU in either St. Louis or Madrid.

About the Center for International Studies

The Center for International Studies is celebrating its 20th year as an academic unit whose mission is to facilitate internationally-oriented education within the College of Arts and Sciences and across the University in collaboration with other units and partners.

The primary focus of the center is the B.A. in international studies, a secondary major which includes individualized multidisciplinary coursework, practical and service learning experiences, cultural appreciation through study abroad immersion, and the study of languages. The center draws upon outstanding faculty from across the university whose teaching and research is international in character and scope.

For more information, visit the Center for International Studies website, call 314-977-5124 or email