History Student Spotlight: Ben James

History major and International Studies major Ben James find every opportunity to engage  his study of the world at Drury University. As a freshman, Ben enrolled in HIST 223 Medieval Europe, and soon thereafter travelled to Morocco with Drury faculty to visit some of the oldest continually existing  medieval cities. His trip to Morocco was also the culmination of his work with International Studies and the Middle East, and an opportunity to meet two of his former Arabic professors in their home country. "Getting the opportunity to visit and eat in Jalal's house was probably my favorite time in Morocco. He and I had grown close throughout his time at Drury, and being able to meet his family and share a meal with him in his home was an experience I will never forget,” Ben said. "I also really enjoyed the Sahara at the Merzouga Dunes. Being in the Sahara caused a feeling of awe because of its vastness and beauty.” 

Full Q &A with Ben James: 

Why do you enjoy traveling to new places? 

I enjoy traveling because I want to experience the world personally rather than solely reading about other people and their adventures. It is kind of desire for wisdom rather than sole knowledge. 

Where did you travel this past summer and why? 

This summer I traveled to Lesotho, which is a small country landlocked inside of South Africa. So technically I traveled to South Africa and Lesotho. Lesotho had recently experienced a severe drought during their wet season and as a result yielded very few crops. While on this trip I traveled with missionaries and distributed locally purchased food. This  last aspect was important because not only were we performing a form of international aid, but we were trying to help stimulate the local economy by purchasing all of the aid supplies through small business owners in the area. 

What do you hope to be doing next year?

After I graduate in December, I hope to be shipped out to Rhode Island for the Navy's Officer Candidate School. So, next year I hope to be working through that process somewhere on my way to becoming an officer in the Navy. 

Why do you think a history major helps you with your goals? 

My history major has helped me through its emphasis in critical thinking and development of writing skills. Both of these skills have assisted me during my process of applying for my desired career, and my critical thinking skills will be essential during a career in the Navy when I will be required to read, analyze, and execute orders.  It has also developed my love for the study of different cultures and peoples, causing me to want to travel and learn even more.