What is Culture Quest?
Launched in 2011, the annual Lauder Culture Quest is an experience designed to challenge internationally curious Lauder students to interact personally with the peoples and cultures of various countries in a given region through an exciting 10-day race. Through creativity and resourcefulness, participants demonstrate teamwork by completing challenging tasks that impact local communities in positive ways. At the culmination of Culture Quest, participants achieve a deeper understanding of the history, cultures, languages, and customs that were hosts to their trek.
Previous Culture Quests:
In May 2012, the second annual Culture Quest took place in South Africa. Nine student teams, including an undergraduate team from the Huntsman Program, participated in this self-guided, 10-day race from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Along the way, teams collected points for a range of daring activities such as a safari encounter with the “big-five” animals, shark diving in the Indian Ocean, and bungee jumping off the Bloukrans River Bridge. Their 10 days in South Africa also featured interactions with the local South African community that included visits with families in Soweto, interviews with South African business owners, and learning local dances in Swaziland. The students’ journey through this region offered a unique way to experience South African culture in a short period of time while learning new leadership and team-building skills. The quest culminated with a lecture and luncheon at the Hamilton Russell Vineyards hosted by Wharton alumnus Anthony Hamilton Russell and his wife Olive at their winery in Cape, South Africa.
2011 – Central America
In May 2011, 12 teams of Lauder students recently participated in a new course in Central America called “Culture Quest.” This student-led, 10-day, self-guided cultural immersion experience consisted of 4-person teams who “raced” from Tikal, Guatemala, to Panama City, Panama, using only public transportation. Along with required readings and lectures on the region’s history and current events, course participants had to compete in a scavenger-hunt style contest by collecting points for activities such as interviewing local government officials, attending a local wedding, visiting a land-fill, learning a local musical instrument or advising small local businesses. The Lauder students’ journey through this region presented a unique way to experience multiple foreign cultures in a short period of time while allowing them to refine their leadership and team-building skills.
Videos from past Culture Quests can be found here.