As an undergraduate student, Religion Professor Steven Sacks took advantage of a life-changing study abroad program in India. He has since returned to India several times and has traveled extensively in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

 Sacks joined the Cornell faculty in 2006 and his passion for adventure and experiential learning quickly took root at Cornell. His study abroad courses have included Religions of Mongolia in 2008 and 2011, Islam and Postcoloniality in Contemporary Morocco in 2009, Religions of Laos in 2010, and Religions of Ethiopia in 2012. 

 “These courses abroad provide students with the opportunity to encounter distant religious traditions first hand, and to experience the cultures in which they flourish,” Sacks says.

 He notes that the courses include traditional learning through readings and classroom discussion, but go far beyond through immersion in local cultures.

 “The goals of our programs abroad are to provide a maximum of exposure to the resources available on site, with attention to the diversity that exists within the traditions,” he says. “This includes visits to sacred sites, and discussions with local college students, pilgrims and religious leaders, all of which embodies our attempt to understand the tradition from the inside.”