Weekly 5: Multi-cultural experiences one hour from Provo

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Whet your appetite for global travel and culture without emptying your savings account by taking advantage of several international experiences within a 50-mile radius of campus.

1. Dive into the Dead Sea Scrolls

The oldest copy of Old Testament-era records in the world is on display at the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City.

“It is the largest collection of artifacts from ancient Israel ever to tour the United States,” said Bryant Sampson, communications coordinator for the Leonardo.

Students and visitors can view 10 of the original Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts at the exhibit. The artifacts have never before been shown outside Israel, Sampson said, and several parchments have never been displayed to the general public. The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the late 1940s and 1950s and contain the oldest known manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible.

“They predate previous known copies by about 1,000 years,” Sampson said. “These were actually written and transcribed around the time of Christ.”

The Leonardo, Utah’s premier science and technology museum, is open Monday–Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The exhibit closes on April 27, and a student discount is available with an ID.

2. Travel to Jerusalem

If ancient records don’t quench your thirst for a Middle Eastern experience, “Jerusalem,” a film about the holiest city of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is showing on the  Mammoth Screen Theatre at Thanksgiving Point.

“It is a four-story-high screen, and it is 3D,” said Preston Merchant, guest services representative at Thanksgiving Point. “It’s the cheapest flight to Jerusalem that you’ll ever have.”

The film portrays the lives of three families in the Holy City, representing the three Abrahamic faiths, and seeks to build bridges of mutual understanding among the diverse traditions. The showings run Monday–Saturday at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 5 p.m. through the end of April.

3. Seek ‘Sacred Gifts’

If Middle Eastern flavor is not on your palette, consider visiting “Sacred Gifts,” an exhibition of the works of Heinrich Hoffman, Carl Bloch and Frans Schwartz, including four new paintings unveiled in February on loan from the Frederiksborg Castle in Denmark.

Visiting the Museum of Art will usher in the Easter season with a sense of profound awe and gratitude for the mission and sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ.

“It’s a really spiritual experience,” said Rebekah Cottam, a music major from Blackfoot, Idaho.

The “Sacred Gifts” exhibit is open Monday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets can be downloaded at sacredgifts.byu.edu/tickets.

4. Stop by the Kennedy Center for International Studies

The small, nondescript yellow-brick building wedged between the MARB and the Harold B. Lee Library hosts some of the most diverse programs and exciting lecture series on campus.

Each Wednesday, the David M. Kennedy Center presents a forum featuring a distinguished guest, ambassador or a visiting professor that is open for anyone to attend. The presentations cover a wide variety of relevant topics including growth and development in Brazil, intelligence operations and European governments.

A full schedule of future events, as well as MP3 files of presentations, are available at kennedy.byu.edu.

5. Talk to an international or study abroad student

If none of these options meets your needs, go for the direct international experience by making friends with someone from a different country.

This semester, BYU has 1,850 international students from 105 countries. Overall, 111 languages are spoken on campus, according to Todd Hollingshead, a university spokesperson.

With thousands of returned missionaries and international students from around the globe, BYU campus is a hub of international activity. If you see people speaking in a different language, it’s an opportunity to jump in and strike up a conversation. Introduce yourself, swap Facebook information, and you may find a new friend.

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