Carthage ranks #3 in the country for short-term study abroad
By Megan Casey ’20
Since January 1973, Carthage has offered students the opportunity to leave the Wisconsin winters to explore the world and learn lessons that can’t be taught in the classroom.
J-Term, or January Term, is a special month-long period of study in which Carthage students explore subjects outside their majors or minors, discover new interests, and test their creativity through classes held both on campus and around the world. It’s a month to experiment, create, and dream.
The ongoing commitment to offer these opportunities is reflected in the most recent “Open Doors” report published by the Institute of International Education which rated Carthage No. 3 in the nation among baccalaureate institutions for student participation in short-term study abroad.
Carthage professors offer between 15 and 25 study tours each January (and sometimes June) to destinations such as Nicaragua, China, Ireland, and Israel. According to Erik Kulke, Director of Education Abroad at Carthage, planning the study tours requires an immense amount of energy, creativity, patience, and hard work.
“It’s wonderful and humbling to be recognized for something that Carthage does well,” says Professor Kulke. “It reflects the fact that as an institution, Carthage values these kinds of experiences for our students, and that our faculty are, individually and collectively, dedicated to providing this robust, potentially transformative educational programming.”
The research and planning of each study tour can take up to a year, and students work with Prof. Kulke to select one that fits their academic, social, and professional interests.
Why are study abroad opportunities so valuable?
- Increased language proficiency or cultural competence
- Exposure to new academic concepts, perspectives, and educational systems that not only enhance students’ own personal knowledge and skills but also build empathy
- Students gain a deeper understanding of themselves and what they’re capable of accomplishing
- An increased sense of independence and self-confidence, as students navigate a language or culture that’s not their own
- Students develop and expand social and pre-professional networks by bridging cultural and personal differences while building relationships
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Students say J-Term has an impact on them; it awakens new interests and provides them with a hands-on cultural learning experience.
“I traveled to Salamanca, Spain to complete some Spanish credits, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had,” said Dulce Zarinana ’20. “I got to travel to a country that I’ve always dreamed about going to and also learned more about the language and the culture.”
“I went to Austria and Germany with the Carthage Philharmonic,” said Bailey Wellen ’21. “We had the opportunity to rehearse and perform in Vienna, visit Mozart’s home in Salzburg, tour beautiful architecture in Munich, and many other experiences! It was such a great chance to improve as a musician, to get to know the other members of the orchestra, and to learn more about the culture and art of Europe!”
“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.”
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Carthage also offers a wide variety of on-campus courses during J-Term, which give students the opportunity to delve deeper into an area of study they are interested in or explore a new topic, including:
- Water Safety
- Cognitive Science of Magic
- Rock Climbing
- Introduction to Aviation
- Mathematical Knitting
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For more information about J-Term study tours, contact Prof. Kulke or plan to attend the education abroad information fair held on campus each fall.