The United States can seem like a very confusing place to international students and visitors. If Americans are supposed to be oriented to progress and the future, why do they seem obsessed with the Wild West? How can a country that is on the cutting edge of science and technology continue to have controversies about teaching the Theory of Evolution in its public schools? Why do so many Americans seem to love their country, but hate its government? If the United States claims to be committed to equal opportunity for all, why are race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality still "hot-button" issues in the US?
This course is designed to help international students sort out these and similar cultural paradoxes by exploring three of the foundations of the American Experience and how they remain relevant to life in the US in the 21st Century: America's Enlightenment Heritage, its Religious Heritage, and its Frontier Heritage. We will first lay a solid foundation for understanding these three central facets of the American experience, and then examine how they have influenced American's past and continue to influence the United States today. This course will help you to understand how US Americans tend to think and what they value. We will touch on several specific facets of life in the US, including politics and government, racial and ethnic diversity, business and economy, education, entertainment and leisure time, religion, gender and sexuality, and family and close relationships.
The course also features five Keys to Academic Success Workshops during the first week. These workshops are designed to explain clearly what US professors expect of their students and what international students need to know in order to succeed at an American university. The workshops include practical assignments on which students will receive important feedback and helpful suggestions for improvement.
We plan to visit the beautiful Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art and to explore Connor Prairie, a beautiful living interactive museum where you will experience some of America's historic roots. Students will also have opportunities to learn about the experience of growing up in the US from students in other IFS courses.
GenEd Information: See the GenEd Website for information about courses approved for the IU Bloomington General Education requirements.
Catalog Information: SLST-T 135 AMERICAN EXPER INTL STUDENTS