BVU offers interim trip to Easter Island January 2019


Alyssa Donnelly, Assistant Arts and Life Editor

Next January, 2019, Professor of Religion Dr. Swasti Bhattacharyya, and Professor of Art David Boelter, will take Buena Vista University (BVU) students to the famous “Easter Island” for a three-week trip for interim. The Easter Island interim trip gives students the opportunity to learn about culture and life in another part of the world.

Easter Island is located off the southeastern coast of Chile. Famous for 887 monumental statues, or moai, Easter Island is the southernmost point of the Polynesian Triangle and home to Rapa Nui people.

The trip includes exploring the life in Santiago, Valparaiso, and Vin Del Mar, Chile, and ending in the Easter Islands (Rapa Nui) to gain a closer connection to the people.

Dr. Bhattacharyya encourages students to go on this trip, as it has shown success in the past.

“A couple of years back I took 4 BVU faculty to Rapa Nui. Professor David Boelter was one of the faculty who went. He loved being on the island, exploring the sites with the moai, and getting to know the Rapanui people. Together we want to provide current BVU students with the opportunity to experience this land, it’s statues, and people,” Bhattacharyya said.

Located in the Pacific Ocean, the Easter Island trip will also focus on learning the importance of sustainable living on the island. With the opportunity to explore the island for about nine days, students will gain understanding of another culture’s way of life, as well as cultivate how to build relationships with island natives.

Bhattacharyya says the trip is highly educational, challenging the students to think critically about new information and ways of life:

“We will learn from, and build relationships with the locals, allowing us to not only learn information but get a sense of the experience of living on this remote island,” she said. “Learning about the Moai in class is one thing, sitting at Ahu Tongariki, watching the sun slowly rise of the ahu with 15 statues in a row is an experience from which so much can be gleaned. Again, various people on the island with be our teachers. And students will experience first-hand the importance of the earth precious natural resources,” said Bhattacharyya.

There are dozens of places students can visit for interim travel courses each year, but Easter Island is an opportunity to visit a place students may never be able to, again.

“By going with us in January 2019, BVU students will be welcomed as family and have connections to the people and land in very personal ways (not just a tourist experience),” Bhattacharyya said.

For more information contact Professor David Boelter or Dr. Swasti Bhattacharyya, or attend one of the informational sessions: Tuesday, April 3, at 11AM, or Wednesday, April 4, at 6PM.