NEWPORT, R.I. - The Naval War College (NWC) hosted a senior class trip to the Boston area for its American and international students on April 21.
More than 250 students visited historical and military landmarks that included Battle Road between Concord and Lexington, Bunker Hill, Freedom Trail, and the USS Constitution. The trip is part of the college’s initiative begun by Provost, Ambassador (ret.) Mary Ann Peters, to build stronger relationships between its students.
“Through the senior trip we hope to strengthen ties between the American military, international students and civilian agencies,” Deputy Dean of Students Cmdr. Timothy Maynard said. “We also believe that applying classroom studies to real-life historical settings will be a significant learning tool for all our students.”
International students gained unique perspectives by learning about the roots of America’s own fight for freedom more than 230 years ago. The senior outing as well as numerous cross-country trips through the college’s field studies program for international students has inspired them to formulate strong personal impressions about this country.
“This is another notable example of how the Naval War College has provided the international students the opportunity to develop their own views and perspectives about America,” said Cmdr. Lee Goddard of Australia. “Visiting Boston allowed us the opportunity to recognize and discuss intelligently the military and social issues that faced the United States during a critical time in its history.”
For one international student, specific events of the Revolutionary War touched very close to home.
“In the classroom we learned about the first shot of the war at the Old North Bridge in Concord as well as the emotional Battle of Bunker Hill in Boston,” Cmdr. Dennis Kamuri of Kenya said. “Reliving those moments firsthand, on the ground, reminded me of my own country’s fight for freedom against the British. The entire day was a moving experience for me and the trip definitely strengthened the esprit de corps with my classmates.”
In an ongoing spirit of fostering closer ties between students, NWC regularly holds international events such as “Country Briefs” and “International Culture Night.” American students have also begun a grassroots initiative that includes international students in more social activities at Naval Station Newport.
“Generally, each of us develops close friendships with the six international students who we study with at seminars during the 10-month curriculum,” Col. Rick Hall, a U.S. Marine Corps student, said. “We wanted to improve this situation, so several seniors decided to start a proactive outreach program. These efforts involved discussing our ideas with Admiral Wisecup and inviting international students to join us for our regular birthday balls and other base-wide social events. The international students have reciprocated by making it a point to invite American students to a few of their private functions. We hope these efforts inspire future classes to nurture these relationships in the years ahead."
The historical tour of the Boston area was the inaugural senior class trip at the Naval War College and was planned by the Dean of Students office.
By David Reese
, Naval War College Public Affairs