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Sociology Students Conduct Ethnographic Research in Greece



Intercultural Studies program at Covenant College
From left, Kip Burdette ’11, Brittany Luther ’10, Kelsey Mucci ’11, Ashley Pearce ’11, Annie Brown ’11, and Dr. Toni Chiareli visited the Acropolis while they were in Athens, Greece, conducting research.

 

A group of five Covenant College students led by Professor of Sociology Dr. Toni Chiareli traveled to Athens, Greece, during the College's May Term to put their studies into practice by conducting research abroad. Each of the students who participated is studying sociology with a concentration in intercultural studies.

 

"Our goal with this trip," said Dr. Chiareli, "was to engage students in an extended field practicum, which is a requirement for students choosing this concentration.  Together we conducted ethnographic research (fieldwork in intercultural research) focusing on the Greek university student subculture." 

 

 "The ethnographic research helped me get out of my comfort zone and change my perceptions about a whole group of people," said Kip Burdette '11.  "I was able to get away from stereotypes after seeing the complexity of the culture and the individuals.  I definitely feel like it helped to change my ethnocentric views." 

 

"It was amazing to see how our God is the same everywhere," said Annie Brown '11, "and that He's at work in Greece as well.  It's reassuring to know that God's church is active in Athens for these students who may seek God and look for answers." 

 

Prior to leaving Athens, Dr. Chiareli and his students presented their preliminary research findings to a group of Mission to the World (MTW) personnel and church leaders in Athens, strategizing about how to reach this university student population with the gospel of Christ.  

 

Dr. Chiareli is actively planning future research trips to serve the same purpose in Covenant's intercultural studies concentration. 

 

"Choosing a research site takes much planning and coordination," he said. "We hope to span the globe with our program, and we have developing opportunities right now in Italy for next year. Thailand and Jordan may follow after that."