Central Lakes College is embarking on its 15th year of “armchair” travel and in-person cultural exchanges in its Cultural Thursday program.
In the fall of 1998, Thursday noon was designated as a time for community members, faculty and students to share their travels and cultures in these free, hour-long presentations. Jan Kurtz, Spanish and Latin American studies instructor, initiated Cultural Thursday.
“The mission of Culture Thursday is to avail our community of our collective global experiences, encourage travel among our students, as well as to acquaint us with our international students,” said Kurtz.
The first programs were held in Room E358 with a dozen attendees circled up in school desks, learning how to make Ojos de Dios (God’s Eyes) for Christmas, trying an Irish jig to hearing stories about being a woman in Afghanistan in the 1970s.
The audience soon outgrew the classroom, moving to the Lecture Hall and then the Chalberg Theatre, where technology added large screen slide shows and musical clips.
This season’s Cultural Thursday event will begin with an excursion to Vietnam at noon Sept. 5 in the Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus of CLC. Michael Hopps, CLC geography instructor, will provide a guided tour of Vietnam, which he visited in July 2012.
Hopps flew into Hanoi in the north and traveled the length of the country by bus and sometimes motorbike. He also traveled by boat up the Mekong River and ended up in Cambodia where he toured the ancient temple site of Angkor Wat and finally flew home from Ho Chi Minh City.
This event is free and open to the public.