Spring Term Travel Information
Volcanic Ash Update:
Click here for Civil Aviation Authority information related to possible flight cancellations involving the return of Alma College Spring Term classes. If any Alma College Spring Term class is affected by a flight cancellation related to the volcanic ash cloud over Europe, we will post the information on this site.
Students Experience Spring Term in Many Locations
South America will be a popular destination for Alma College students during the May 2010 Spring Term, with England, Scotland, New Zealand and Bermuda close behind.
A total of five Alma classes will be traveling to Ecuador and Argentina for intensive study of the culture, geology and environment of the South American countries. Other Spring Term topics include women’s labor in London, reptile behavior in Bermuda, and high altitude physiology in Colorado.
Spring Term is a chance for students to study one academic topic for an entire month. Students have a choice from travel or on-campus courses and must take two Spring Terms during their time at Alma.
Students visit a New Zealand falls in 2008.
“Spring Term in general is appealing because we have the students’ full attention for four weeks,” says mathematics Professor Mel Nyman, who is coordinating his third interdisciplinary trip to New Zealand with biology colleague Mark Oemke and ninth Spring Term class overall.
“Traveling to a different location is very different than the usual classroom experience,” says Nyman. “Visiting a different country as a class provides real growth opportunities for students to experience landscapes, cultures and economies that are different than their own. With every trip, it’s common to have students who are very experienced travelers alongside students who have never been in an airplane before.”
The interdisciplinary New Zealand trip, for example, gives students opportunities to interact with “real” New Zealanders, share a Kiwi meal with a local farm family, spend time in a rural heritage wilderness, visit a bird sanctuary and experience Mauri culture.
“It’s quite exciting to see a group of eight to 10 students with different academic interests gathering around a New Zealand tidal pool with Mark Oemke, who is explaining what kind of plant they are seeing and why it is so wonderful,” says Nyman.
Students do service work in Peru.
Following is a roundup of this year’s Spring Term, which begins May 2 and continues through May 27.
Roundup of International Trips
• Students in Mary Theresa Bonhage-Freund’s “Cultures of Ecuador” class will canoe the Amazon River to mingle with a Kichwa community and join in city life with a host family to study the architecture, art, economy and society of Quito.
• Students in Micheal Vickery’s communication class will film a documentary in Ecuador exploring the cultural, ecological and political issues related to sustainable development and environmental conservation.
• Geologist Murray Borrello will lead a study of the environmental geology in Ecuador. Students will visit Quito to study the urban impact on the natural environment, the cloud forest, rainforest, ecotourism and Galapagos Islands.
• Melissa Strait and Peggy Thelen will take science education students to South America to experience the geology, culture and educational system of Argentina. Students will visit cultural sites in Buenos Aires and the foothills of the Andes Mountains.
• Faculty artist Sandy Lopez-Isnardi will take students to Buenos Aires and Mendoza to photographically document the people, culture and national fervor during Argentina’s bicentennial celebration.
• Sociologist Catherine Fobes will take students to London to examine women’s labor, gender concepts, feminist theories and varying definitions of vocation. They will visit specific worksites, including the London Catholic Worker Home.
• English professor Carol Bender will take students to England to study Virginia Woolf’s treatment of London in her fiction and essays.
• The Alma College Choir, led by Will Nichols, will travel to Scotland for a performance tour. Concerts are scheduled at Aberdeen, St. Andrews and St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.
• Mel Nyman and Mark Oemke will take students to New Zealand, where they will explore the rain forest, glaciers, Maori culture and Ulva Island bird sanctuary in Rakiura National Park. They also will do some blackwater rafting and visit a “Lord of the Rings” filming site.
• Biologist Dave Clark will teach a behavioral ecology field course on the lizards of Bermuda.
Roundup of Domestic Trips
Several Spring Term classes will travel but stay within the confines of the U.S. borders. Biology students will travel throughout the Great Lakes region to study bird migration. Professor John Davis will take students to Colorado to study the effects of living at high altitude.
Students in Derick Hulme’s political science class will study the Kennedy administration with archival research at the John F. Kennedy presidential library in Boston. Professor Ray Riley and music students will attend the Gilmore Festival in Kalamazoo and nearby communities for performances, master classes, forums and films.
Classes on campus cover a variety of topics, including “What’s in Your Toothpaste,” which studies the application of chemistry in everyday phenomena; “The Male Journey,” which analyzes the journey from boys to men of wisdom; and “Plagues and People,” which explores the connections between major epidemics and world history.
Posted: Thu, May 6th, 2010 at 1:17PM