What can you expect from your first J-Term at Carthage? New friends, immersive study, and a month you won’t forget — whether you stay on campus, or get a head start touring the world.

All first-year students are required to take a J-Term course their first year at Carthage. Most first-year students stay on campus for their first J-Term, but freshmen can participate in a J-Term study tour if spots are available.

Biodiversity, Brains, & Behavior in Honduras

Honduras Trio, est. 2022: Sierra F. '22 (left) Gabbie U. '24 (middle) Callie S. '23 (right) Gabriella Urbano ’24
Destination: 
Roatán and Copán Honduras
Instructors: Profs. Daniel Miller and Scott Hegrenes

How did you spend your first J-Term?:
“I spent my first J-term in Roatán and Copán Honduras! The first couple of days we stayed at the CocoView Resort in Roatán snorkeling or scuba diving. While underwater we were asked to try and identify the different marine life by their body shape, location, color, if they travel in a class or alone, etc. The CocoView staff made the whole stay feel like home and we all definitely had a bittersweet moment saying our goodbyes. For the last couple of days, we visited the history of Honduras by going to the Copán Ruinas. It was truly a breathtaking site with amazing historical context and our tour guide was nothing short of extraordinary which heightened all of our experiences while exploring the city.”

What did you learn from the experience?:
“Academically and personally, I learned so much from this trip. It was truly life-changing. I stepped out of my comfort zone, met people I didn’t even know prior to the trip, tried new things, got a deeper understanding of marine biodiversity, and obtained a better understanding of Honduran culture.”

What do you hope to do in a future J-Term?:
“I hope to go on this trip again in my senior year! Words do not suffice the feeling of emerging yourself into a different culture and studying abroad with random people who become some of your closest friends. I really think this experience shaped me to want to do more studying abroad even if it isn’t in my major or minor.”


Applied Contemporary Mathematics

Thomas Parker '25 Thomas Parker ’25 
Destination: Carthage campus
Instructor: Prof. Aaron Trautwein

How did you spend your first J-Term?:
“I took an on-campus intro math course, Applied Contemporary Mathematics, with Aaron Trautwein.”

What did you learn from the experience?:
“I learned that even though the course is only a few weeks, the professors are just as attentive as they are during a full-length semester.”

What do you hope to do in a future J-Term?:
“I intend on taking the EMT course next J-Term since I’ve always had an interest in that field and want to learn more about it.”

See more on-campus classes offered during J-Term


The Culture of Madrid, Spain

A bridge over the River Tegas going to the old city of Toledo, Spain. Amelia Reinitz ’24
Destination:
Madrid, Spain
Instructor: Prof. Matt Borden

How did you spend your first J-Term?:
“My first J-Term experience was spending three weeks in Madrid, Spain. We enjoyed the culture, the food, and the language.”

What did you learn from the experience?:
“I learned how much I love to travel! I also learned so much about the language, the culture, the world, and myself. This J-Term trip gave me a sense of independence I did not have before.”

What do you hope to do in a future J-Term?:
“I hope to connect with other cultures and gain a better understanding of the world.”


Upper Midwest Sports Tour

Hanna Snedecor '23 is showcasing the Stanley Cup Championship rings for the Chicago Blackhawks' v... Hanna Snedecor ’23 
Destination:
Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Paul
Instructors:
Profs. Greg Barron and Jennifer Madden

How did you spend your first J-Term?:
“I spent my first J-Term taking the Introduction to Sports Management study tour. My class had the opportunity to learn hands-on with almost 100 executives from all levels of the sports industry, from a new college head coach to the president and owner of an NHL team. Spending three weeks in the classroom then traveling to work with professionals was an amazing experience!”

What did you learn from the experience?:
“I learned about the main revenue drivers for the sports industry, how to maximize profits, build relationships with customers, clients, and fellow employees all alike, and the different areas in the sports industry job seekers can go into. The class learned hands-on with professionals from the industry and was able to work two home games for the Minnesota Wild behind the scenes in customer relations, fan engagement, sales, merchandising, and stadium operations.

What do you hope to do in a future J-Term?:
“I hope to have another enjoyable experience with my J-Term class next year as it will be my last one! I want to do more off-campus activities involved with the course and will help me understand the material and learning objectives better.”


Examining the Experiences of Women and People of Color in STEM

Kyla Grismer '25 Kyla Grismer ’25 
Destination: Carthage campus
Instructor: Prof. Bradley Zopf

How did you spend your first J-Term?:
“I spent my first J-Term on campus taking a class that I was extremely interested in. I spent my free time hanging out with friends and exploring the Kenosha area.”

What did you learn from the experience?:
“This class was a lot of fun! We worked as a class to create a Wikipedia page about racial minorities in STEM fields, as one had not been created yet. It was a very rewarding experience to work with new people on such a big project that will influence a lot of people in the future.”

What do you hope to do in a future J-Term?:
“In the future, I hope to go on a J-Term trip to somewhere that I haven’t been yet to do something that is new to me. I want to be able to explore and learn something new about new places and people.”


Modern Language Study in Costa Rica

Exploring and laughing in the rain in Monteverde! Marielle Shiring ’23 
Destination: Sámara, Costa Rica
Instructor: Prof. Pascal Rollet

How did you spend your first J-Term?:
“For my first J-Term, I studied abroad in Costa Rica, specifically in the little town of Sámara. I was very anxious and hesitant at first, but I decided to take this leap of going way out of my comfort zone and leave the country for the first time to experience a whole new culture.”

What did you learn from the experience?:
“Not only did this trip entail learning and advancing my Spanish speaking skills, but also learning how to live in a new and different culture. From living with my host family and interacting with other people I learned so much more than just Spanish. My mamá Tica made us delicious and healthy meals and the townspeople were so outgoing and incredibly patient while communicating in Spanish with me. When I had to fish for a verb in my head or was slipping up on my pronunciation they never grew impatient or rude; instead, they waited with sympathy and understanding. By immersing myself in the Costa Rican culture I have learned to look at life through a different lens, one made of love, compassion, and grace.”


Carthage Philharmonic’s European Tour

Low strings in front of Empress Maria Theresa Monument. William Dowell ’22
Destination: Europe
Instructors: Profs. Edward Kawakami, Temple Burling, and Greg Baer

How did you spend your first J-Term?:
“I spent my first J-Term traveling with the Carthage Philharmonic to Vienna, Salzburg, and Munich. We worked with multiple clinicians and guest conductors to build our musicality. Each of our pieces was dissected and reworked to emphasize the historical stylistic techniques. When we were not practicing, we learned about the surrounding culture. We visited the Haydn House and Mozart House, which gave us more insight into the composers’ lives. Additionally, we visited multiple art museums and connected art history with music history. One of my personal favorites was analyzing church architecture and defining it in the correct art period. Most importantly, we visited the concentration camp Dachau. We saw the remnants of one of the worst atrocities in human history. It was very sobering, but it helped remind us how horrible people can be to each other.”

What did you learn from the experience?:
“I learned that these styles of music are still alive. They are an active part of these cities’ cultures and blend with the art, history, and architecture. It helps give me the freedom to truly explore the music as a living work instead of interacting with it as if it belongs in a museum.”


Senegal: from Colonisation to Globalisation

Emma McLaughlin '22 exploring the wildlife while on a safari in Senegal during J-Term. Emma McLaughlin ’22
Destination: Senegal
Instructors: Profs. Michele Hancock, Jennifer Madden, and Isabel Rivero-Vila

What did you learn from the experience?:
“While in Senegal, we toured several schools ranging from public, bilingual, and private. It was fascinating to learn how other countries handle education and how advanced Senegal is. Most of the children there speak French, English, and are learning Arabic in school. In addition to learning about education, we explored the economy and how trade [and] buying work. A startling statistic I learned was the poverty percentage is 60 percent, not the advertised 15 percent. The people selling at the market rely on tourist money despite having high competition. The Senegalese people are very thrifty in how they make money and make a business out of anything — selling fruit, washing cars, or guiding tourists around. While learning about education and the economy I was immersed in a French-speaking culture that forced me to sharpen my French skills while engaging in respectful country customs.”

What do you hope to do in a future J-Term?:
“I am very fortunate to have been able to travel on J-Term as a freshman and look forward to many more experiences! I would love to go somewhere in Asia or South America in the future.”


In Pursuit of Happiness

?Happiness is a conscious choice and not an automatic response,? says Purity. ?Choose to be happy...

Purity Bundi ’22
Destination: Carthage campus
Instructor: Prof. Ellen Hauser

How did you spend your first J-Term?:
“I took a course on campus called Pursuit of Happiness.”

What did you learn from the experience?:
“I learned happiness is more about long-term fulfillment than short-term pleasures. Also, I learned a lot from my classmates who had different perceptions of happiness. The one that struck me the most was when one said that ‘the sound of laughter’ makes them happy. This really resonated with me in the sense that knowing whenever you laugh, someone feels happy means a lot. It was a great learning experience outside my majors and I have practiced a lot that I learned in that class in my life and it has proven fulfilling.”


European Music Tour

Azniv Khaligian '22 on the European Music Study Tour. Azniv Khaligian ’22
Destination: Vienna, Salzburg, and Munich
Instructors: Profs. Edward Kawakami, Temple Burling, and Greg Baer

How did you spend your first J-Term?:
“I participated in the Music and Culture J-term with the Carthage Philharmonic, which traveled to Vienna, Salzburg, and Munich. We explored the art, history, and music scene in the classical music center of the world and had the opportunity to perform in Vienna under the direction of a maestro from the area.”

What did you learn from the experience?:
“Traveling to the birthplace and modern hub of classical music is an unparalleled opportunity for any student musician, and in ten days I grew tremendously in my understanding of music through the culture and arts I experienced. The most astonishing observation I made while in Europe was the distinction of the role that music plays in their society compared to ours. In the States, classical music is often compartmentalized into an antiquated category and is mostly appreciated by musical people; in Europe, classical music permeates every aspect of modern culture and is cherished by all members of society.”

Tell us about your first J-Term

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