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Just Go

9 Life-Changing J-Term Study Tours

 

1. Guatemala

1. Guatemala

“My J-Term experience in Guatemala was unforgettable. The trip taught me a lot about life and how I should appreciate what I have.” — Nicole Devine

In the course Sustainable and Unsustainable Development in Rural Guatemala, led by economics and modern languages professor Edward Montanaro and chemistry professor Timothy Eckert, students examined the sustainability of rural development practices around Lago Atilan and in El Peten. While primarily an economics course, the course paid particular attention to the interaction of factors that affect the sustainability of economic progress: governance, education, contract enforcement, and public safety.

“My J-Term experience in Guatemala was unforgettable,” said Nicole Devine ’14. “The trip taught me a lot about life and how I should appreciate what I have. The people there were so grateful for what they had and so genuinely happy.”

2. Honduras

2. Honduras

“There is so much we don’t know about life, and scuba diving in Honduras gave me a little slice of that unknown.” — Courtney Matula

Adventurous students headed to the Caribbean for the course Biodiversity, Brains, and Behavior, now 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.

“Honduras gave me this wonderful opportunity to see animals and plants in their natural ocean environment, and it gives you this resounding feeling of being so small in the world,” said Courtney Matula ’14. “There is so much we don’t know about life, and scuba diving in Honduras gave me a little slice of that unknown.”

3. Cuba

3. Cuba

“I have a new respect for the Cuban people and their ways of life, I have been awestruck by the incredible beauty of their country, and, most of all, I have been bitten by the travel bug. I want to go everywhere. I want to see everything. I want to do everything. And for that, I only have Carthage to thank.” — Ian McDonald

In the course Life and Politics: Surviving Socialism and the U.S. Embargo of Cuba, political science professor Jeffrey Roberg and psychology/neuroscience professor Penny Seymoure led students in exploring the impact of socialism. Students examined the differences and similarities between the Cuban and American political and economic systems; the impact of living under a restrictive political system and failing economy; and the biological and psychological consequences of living in chronically stressful situations.

“I have a new respect for the Cuban people and their ways of life, I have been awestruck by the incredible beauty of their country, and, most of all, I have been bitten by the travel bug. I want to go everywhere. I want to see everything. I want to do everything. And for that, I only have Carthage to thank,” said Ian McDonald ’14.

4. Europe

4. Europe

“It was my first time out of the country, and it was a ton of fun. The games we went to cover were absolutely amazing.” — Brad Hyland

Communication and digital media professor Jon Bruning leads a January study tour titled Sports Journalism: European Football. It’s a writing-intensive course in which students explore the history and culture of European football at some of the continent’s greatest football venues. During the 2014 course, students wrote in a variety of journalistic formats related to the live games they attended in London, Paris, and Barcelona, while also exploring non-sports museums and cultural sites.

“It was my first time out of the country, and it was a ton of fun,” said Brad Hyland ’14. “The games we went to cover were absolutely amazing. I have a history in soccer, and I really enjoy watching it.”

5. Paris

5. Paris

“France opened my mind in so many different ways.” — Ally Stonebraker

French professor Pascal Rollet and music professor Amy Haines teamed up in January 2014 to lead the course Life and Music in Paris. Students examined multiple aspects of French culture and music while staying in Paris. They learned through observation and interaction with French civilization, with daily, guided visits to neighborhoods, monuments, and museums. They learned about music by analyzing recordings and attending live performances.

“France opened my mind in so many different ways, trying food I would’ve never imagined, like escargot and duck liver; finding our way around a city we were not familiar with; communicating with people who spoke a language I didn’t fully understand; and seeing the most incredible monuments and museums,” said Ally Stonebraker ’14.

6. Namibia

6. Namibia

“There really isn’t a sufficient way to explain my experience in Namibia. You could call it ‘life-changing,’ ‘eye-opening,’ ‘heartbreaking,’ or ‘inspiring,’ but these words are still horribly inadequate.” — KristieRae Ellis

Music professor Peter Dennee led students to Namibia in southern Africa for the J-Term study tour Namibia: A Sociocultural Journey. Students learned about the lives and cultures of various tribes by camping and interacting with the Ovambo, Himba, and Damara tribes. They also visited the Etosha Game Reserve and the resort town of Swakupmond.

“There really isn’t a sufficient way to explain my experience in Namibia,” remarked KristieRae Ellis ’15. “You could call it ‘life-changing,’ ‘eye-opening,’ ‘heartbreaking,’ or ‘inspiring,’ but these words are still horribly inadequate. In Namibia, most people have very little in terms of material things, and many of them have lost a loved one to AIDS. But despite all of their struggles, the people still have so much hope and love. During our trip, their hope, love, and willingness to share it with us was nothing short of beautiful and overwhelming. So, when asked, ‘How was Namibia, Kristie?’, this is how Namibia was: overwhelming and beautiful.”

“It’s so hard to describe the feelings you get when you are building a garden for a family that you know will completely change their way of living, or seeing animals in the wild that you have only seen in zoos” said Maren Schutz ’15. “I’m grateful that Carthage offers these opportunities that inspire students to give back and explore the world.”

8. Nicaragua

7. Nicaragua

“The students learn a lot about medicine, (and) about what it takes to have the kind of infrastructure that we have in the U.S. like roads, running water and electricity. Most importantly, I think they all learn a lot about themselves; what they are capable of, and that they can make a difference in the world if they really try.” — Prof. Patrick Pfaffle

Carthage’s J-Term study tour in Nicaragua is one of the most popular study tours. Biology professor Patrick Pfaffle and geography professor Matt Zorn team up to teach 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.

“The hands-on experience from the clinics is something most pre-med students do not get until they are in medical school,” said Alex Nelson ’14. “I will always remember and truly cherish the interaction we had with the people of Nicaragua and the new friends we made.”

“The students learn a lot about medicine, (and) about what it takes to have the kind of infrastructure that we have in the U.S. like roads, running water and electricity,” says Prof. Pfaffle. “Most importantly, I think they all learn a lot about themselves; what they are capable of, and that they can make a difference in the world if they really try.”

9. Rome

8. Rome

The trip lasted 10 days and was a life-changing experience for me.” — Andrew Rosenberg

In the course Shakespeare in Rome, led by Great Ideas and philosophy professor Michael McShane and Great Ideas and English professor Seemee Ali, students read three of Shakespeare’s most famous Roman plays before spending two weeks in Rome visiting locations relevant to Shakespeare’s work.

“The trip lasted 10 days and was a life-changing experience for me,” Andrew Rosenberg ’14. “Besides reading Shakespeare plays in the actual places they happened, we also experienced the rich Italian culture and explored the ‘Eternal City’ of Rome.”

10. Ghana

9. Ghana

“Take the challenge and step outside of your comfort zone. It will forever change your perspective on life and the world. I would give anything to go back.”  — Brooke Kahly

In the course Exploring the Roots of African American Religion, led by social work professor Danielle Geary and religion professor David Musa, students are immersed into the rich, vibrant, and diverse cultural heritage of West Africa, exploring the intricate relationship and pervasive influence of religion on social issues.

“Absolutely incredible and life-changing,” said Brooke Kahly ’14. “If you have the opportunity to take a J-Term class abroad, do it! Take the challenge and step outside of your comfort zone. It will forever change your perspective on life and the world. I would give anything to go back.”

 

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2017), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

    • 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 wins, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • 96% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 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. 95% 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. 

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • In 2016 and 2017, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience 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 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 our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. 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,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. 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 the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, 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 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. 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.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • 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 No. 11 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 …

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