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Just Go

9 Life-Changing J-Term Study Tours

Carthage offers many unique opportunities, but students say that nothing broadened their horizons as much as their J-Term study tour experiences. From the depths of the oceans in Honduras to the heights of the mountains in France, we promise you’ll come back from your J-Term with nothing less than new friends, exciting memories, and a bite from the travel bug. 

Students riding a camel

1. India

“Traveling to India was truly the most amazing experience I have ever been given. I was able to talk with the natives and even attend a yoga class by a native instructor on the roof of his studio that overlooked the river and the rest of the town. After this trip, I was definitely bit by the travel bug.” — Allyssa Vargas ’22

In the course Health Care in India: Traditional and Non-Traditional Healing, led by biology professor Margaret Wentzell, students examined health care in India with a focus on class, gender, environment, and caste, among other topics, in highly populated urban centers. Studying these topics in a developing country, under the impact of globalization, imbued a greater holistic perspective to Carthage students. Students studied how particular groups and communities have been reacting and adapting to specific challenges unique to India.

“Throughout the trip, we all became acclimated with the beautiful culture, learned about different religious beliefs and how it impacted their health care and ways of life,” said Allyssa Vargas ’22. “I personally focused on studying yoga and the benefits it has on both the body and the mind/spirit. After this trip, I was definitely bit by the travel bug and hope to attend two more J-Term study tours before graduating.”

Shark next to students in sea

2. Honduras

“It was a wild journey in Honduras and I feel so blessed and humbled by the experience I have had in this beautiful country. ” — Annemarie Seth ’21

Adventurous students headed to the Caribbean for the course Biodiversity, Brains, and Behavior, led by biology professor Scott Hegrenes, sociology professor Bill Miller, and neuroscience professor Dan Miller. Students studied the ecology of a coral reef ecosystem while learning about the evolution of nervous systems and behavior. In preparation for the extensive diving required on the tour, the students became scuba certified.

“While traveling in Honduras, we got to try authentic Honduran chocolate, shop at flea markets, and sleep in the city of San Pedro Sula,” said Annemarie Seth ’21. “It was a whole journey in Honduras and I feel so blessed and humbled by the experience I have had in this beautiful country.”

A Senegal flag on a beach

3. Senegal

“Being an African American, there was always talk of going back to the ‘motherland,’ and to finally take forth that opportunity and travel to Senegal was extraordinary.” — Jawaune Johnson ’19

In the course, Senegal: From Colonisation to Globalisation, education professors Jacqueline Easley and Michele Hancock, management and marketing professor Jennifer Madden, and modern languages professor Isabel Rivero-Vilá led students to explore Senegalese culture. Students were able to explore a close examination of the various interactions between Europeans and Africans in the slave trade and colonialism and used an understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning. Students articulated the interconnectedness of cultural, educational, and business systems.

“I had not traveled to Africa ever in my life, so to be the first in the family to do that was a blessing. Throughout the traveling process of getting there, my feeling was a combination of nervousness and excitement. It was the trip of a lifetime.” said Jawaune.

Two students in front of a Swedish lake

4. Sweden

“This was truly a trip of a lifetime and I am counting down the days until I can return to Goteborg” — Jackson Larson ’21

Management and marketing professor Joseph Shields led students in a J-Term course titled International Business/Marketing and Cultural Analysis of Sweden. The students learned about international business and marketing as they explored Goteborg, Sweden, learning from executives from companies including ABB Robotics, Volvo Cars, Saab Aerospace, SKAPA (a major ad agency), SKF Ball Bearings, and small start-up companies. They also partnered with Goteborg University, which provided local experts for private lectures, and Carthage students joined a few classes with the students of Goteborg University.

“It was such a wonderful trip, and all the credit goes to Prof. Shields for organizing and managing this trip to ensure that we had the most enjoyable time in Sweden and that all of our activities ran as smoothly as they did,” said Jackson Larson ’21. “This was truly a trip of a lifetime and I am counting down the days until I can return to Goteborg.”

Building in Japan

5. Japan

“The J-Term Wind Orchestra Japan trip was definitely one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had.” — Henry Meyer  ’23

Music professor James Ripley and modern languages and Asian professor Yan Wang teamed up to lead students in Carthage musical ensembles to the rich culture of musical literature and performance in a new cultural context abroad. It invites students to explore and reflect on the relationships between music and culture and to reflect on cultural differences. 

“My first J-Term at Carthage I had the privilege of playing in the Carthage Wind Orchestra during their Japan tour. I had the opportunity to be part of an ensemble that played the world premiere of a piece while touring Japan,” said Henry Meyer ’23 

 Student taking picture of elephant

6. Tanzania

“Getting to leave Wisconsin and travel to Tanzania with two awesome professors and thirty other Carthaginians was so fun, and it was an experience I will never forget.” — Breanna Reynolds ’21

Religion professor Andrea Ng’weshemi led students to Tanzania in eastern Africa for the J-Term study tour Experience Tanzania: Religion, Society and Culture. Students had the opportunity to immerse in the diverse culture of Tanzania through formal discussions with Tanzanian professors and religious leaders, visited historical and cultural sites, went on a two-day safari pack in some of Tanzania’s most popular national parks, and sunbathed at the pristine, warm sandy Indian Ocean beaches. 

“I was able to go on a J-Term study tour to Tanzania my sophomore year and it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had,” said Breanna Reynolds ’21. “We went on two safaris where we saw the Big 5, swam in the Indian Ocean, and bonded with my classmates over the amazing scenery and people we met there. We were able to see churches, temples, and mosques in person rather than learn about them in a classroom, and it was an experience I will never forget.”

Carthage students in a tree7. Nicaragua

“Traveling to Nicaragua was life-changing for many reasons. This unique opportunity is something I truly don’t believe I would’ve gotten to experience at another school and I am so thankful to have had this chance.” — Katie Cochran ’22

Carthage’s J-Term study tour in Nicaragua is one of the most popular study tours. Geospatial science professor Matt Zorn teaches a course titled Biology and Geography of Nicaragua. The course is so popular, it’s offered twice a year. Students volunteer in rural medical clinics, help construct freshwater facilities, build and repair classrooms for local schools, and explore the country’s varied landscape and history.

“I was lucky enough to take part in the Nicaragua J-Term study tour here at Carthage. This experience was life-changing for many reasons,” said Katie Cochran ’21. “Not only did I get to hike to the top of an active volcano, but I got to meet people and experience Nicaraguan culture first hand while also solving clean water issues on the island of Ometepe.”

Two students on a boat on a river in London

8. England

“I was awestruck by the entire study tour. London was breathtaking.” — Mallory Jenkins ’21

In the course Brexit: Why? When? How?, led by management and marketing professor Greg Barron and accounting, finance, and economics professor Chao Zheng, students focused on international finance, economics, and business in the United Kingdom, concentrating on London as a financial hub and the effect that Brexit may have in the long term. Students learned about what it is like to do business and live in London with the shadow of Brexit looming over the city and nation. 

“My first J-Term study tour was to London with Prof. Barron and Prof. Zheng for the purpose of studying Brexit. I was awestruck the entire study tour. London was breathtaking,” said Mallory Jenkins ’21. “Since Prof. Barron had lived in London for a time, he was so knowledgeable about the city which led to being able to experience so much more of the city than I would have if I were traveling there on my own.”

Students on a J-Term study tour to Guatemala

9. Guatemala

“Going on a Spanish immersion trip to Guatemala was the best experience of my life.”  — Ryen Cunningham ’20

In the course Spanish Language Immersion in Guatemala, led by economics and modern languages professor Ed Montanaro and Target Language Expert José Raúl González Ruíz, students visited Guatemala in a tour conducted purely in Spanish. Students lived and worked on an agricultural cooperative in northern Guatemala, and learned about the education system, Maya culture, health care, gender relations, and other aspects of life in rural Guatemala. Most of the activities were conducted with Guatemalan students and other members of the community, and the activities required students to rely on their Spanish skills. 

“I went on a Spanish immersion trip to Guatemala,” said Ryen Cunningham ’20. “It was the best experience of my life. I was able to become more fluent in my Spanish, as well as grow closer to my group and the people living in Nuevo Horizonte.

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $22,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …