By Mirika Jambudi (IV)
Over Winter Break, students were given the opportunity to participate in Pingry’s first ever virtual Global Program. Ms. Julia Dunbar, Director of Global Education and Engagement, and Dr. Megan Jones, History Department Chair, worked together to convert this Global Studies Program into a three-day virtual course with the help of Atlas Workshops.
This program was based on the previous Global Studies Program, “Nations at a Crossroad: Nationalism and Religion in the Balkans,” which was a thirteen-day travel course. In that course, students visited areas of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, learning about the Yugoslav Wars and the underlying nationalist strife that caused the regional divisions.
In this year’s virtual recreation of the trip, students were able to meet and speak with actual residents of the countries. Many shared that these conversations were one of the most valuable aspects of the Program. For three hours each morning, from December 21st through 23rd, Pingry students dove into the history and politics of the former Yugoslavia, meeting and interacting with locals, participating in group discussions and activities, and ultimately working towards an answer to the overarching essential question, “What makes a nation?”
Ms. Dunbar and Dr. Jones remarked that they were very pleased with the virtual program. Although the “power of in-person travel is irreplaceable,” the Global Education and Engagement Department hopes to offer more virtual courses to Pingry students as “a complement to [Pingry’s] travel programs.”