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Hufford prepares for world journey

Hufford for web
2008-09-08

Meet Jonathan Hufford, Wofford’s 2009 Presidential International Scholar.  Hufford's Presidential Scholar Blog

Hufford is not your typical intellect. In fact, there isn’t much typical at all about the biology major (with an emphasis in computational science). He has played guard for the Wofford football team AND been a member of the Quiz Bowl team. The Oxford, Ohio, native wears green as much as possible, fitting for a man who is always on the go. He has been an active volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Department, and his ever-crowded schedule is about to get even crazier.

On September 12, he will embark on an eight month journey he’ll never forget. Starting in Australia and the South Pacific, Hufford will proceed to China, Cambodia (where he has been before), India, the Middle East, South Africa, Nicaragua, Brazil and possibly places in between.

“My whole philosophy on this trip is that it’s an adventure,” says Hufford. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing that I’ll never be able to replicate. I’m going into it full force...go big or go home and try everything twice.”

That includes the food.

“That is one of my favorite things,” he said. “I love to eat anything and everything weird. I’ve been watching that show Bizarre Food with Andrew Zimmer on TV.”

Will he eat fried scorpions like Zimmer?

“Heck yes,” he says. “When we went to Cambodia we tried all sorts of things. Silkworms taste like peanuts. And Durian fruits, which you think must taste good because they smell so bad, are absolutely atrocious. But you have to try it.”

Culinary preferences aren’t the only thing different in other countries, though. The real reason Hufford will be traveling is the different forms of medicine.

“I’ll be studying the confluence of western biologic medicine with everything else people use to alleviate suffering…be it natural medicine, herbalist medicine, faith healing, acupuncture, what have you,” says Hufford.

“I’m interested in everything that leads one to a lifestyle choice in integrated medicine. Why do you choose antibiotics over acupuncture? There are physicians in America who have come together recently to bring non-bio medicine to the forefront, and actually the National Institute of Health just started a study of alternative medicine. But it’s not something you learn in school here.

“Since I want to make my career in the medical field somehow, even if I become strictly a Western doctor, you can’t discount some of these things because they work for people.”

Hufford will spend an average of three to four weeks at each stop, with the longest scheduled stay being India, where he’ll study ayurvedic medicine, the oldest continually practiced system of medicine on the planet; the same planet Hufford will be seeing most of over the next several months.

“When I first started thinking about (traveling as the Presidential International Scholar), I thought it was going to be like an Indiana Jones movie,” he says. “It won’t be THAT flashy, but I am going into the complete unknown. No matter how much you try to plan, nothing is really set in stone. I think I’m ready to just roll with the punches.”