International destinations in 2017 include China, Ecuador, England, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Germany and Rwanda.
For Livonia senior Sara Stemen, taking a Spring Term class to Germany and Poland with other students and a professor was one of the highlights of her Alma College education.
“My favorite thing about Spring Term is having the opportunity to select courses on topics that I have always been interested in, and experiencing them in real life instead of just through a textbook,” says Stemen, who enrolled in a “Holocaust and the Cold War” class.
“We visited several historical sites and museums, including the Berlin Olympic Stadium originally built for the 1936 Summer Olympics,” she says. “In Poland, we visited the Auschwitz concentration camp on a rainy, gloomy day that seemed to fit the mood. It was amazing to see it firsthand; until you see it in person, you really can’t comprehend it.”
Spring Term is an opportunity for students to study a single academic topic for an entire month. With the option of on-campus or travel courses, students must take two Spring Term courses during their time at Alma.
China, Ecuador, England, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Germany, and Rwanda are among the international destinations for Alma College students during the 2017 Spring Term, which begins April 30 and continues through May 25. Below is a roundup of this year’s courses:
• “Backpack Filmmaking” will take students to Italy to analyze advances in mobile cinematography. Students will experience different theories of modern travel, using the camera as a tourist, adventurer, mythmaker and advocate.
• Biology students will study tropical rainforest ecology in Costa Rica. They will conduct scientific research that includes data collection, analysis and oral presentations.
• Business students will study accounting information systems with visits to business and corporate offices in the U.S. and Canada.
• “China Past and Present” will explore the history and culture of China as well as its more recent economic developments and social changes.
• Communication students will examine intercultural communication during two weeks in Ecuador. The students will live with host families, take Spanish classes, engage in service-learning and explore cultural and natural sites.
• Education students will travel to Rwanda to work in a classroom and study the African country’s education, culture, history and natural landscapes.
• English students will visit London to study the fictional works of Victorian authors such as Charles Dickens and Conan Doyle.
• Mathematics students will travel to Peru to study the mathematics of the Incas and other pre-Columbian cultures. A service-learning component of the class will place students in local schools and hospitals to meet local needs in Cusco.
• Psychology students will visit cities in Austria and Germany, including Vienna, Munich, Leipzig and Berlin, to study the European origins of modern psychology.
• The sociology course “Women, Work and Calling” will include visits to museums and theatres in London as well as to social service organizations, such as the Catholic Worker Farm in Hertfordshire and St. Christopher’s hospice.
• Students in integrative physiology and health studies will visit Baja Mexico to examine the psychosocial aspects of elite performance in sports — particularly the biomechanics and motor performance of both elite and novice surfers.
• A trip to Germany will focus on the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. Destinations will include a book-printing museum and Wartburg Castle, where Luther translated the New Testament, as well as sites in Berlin, Munich, Leipzig and Wittenberg.
Several Spring Term classes will travel but stay within the United States. Biology students will explore marine organisms in Hawaii. Environmental studies students will examine the geology and ecology of national parks and monuments, including the Grand Canyon.
“Meals on Wheels” will explore sports nutrition and the relation between the food that is consumed and athletic performance; the course includes an extended five-day bike tour along the Lake Michigan border.
Art and new media studies students will visit Rochester, N.Y., the home of Kodak founder George Eastman, in an exploration of the history of photography. Business students studying strategic leadership will interact with Alma College alumni in Detroit and Chicago.
Classes on campus will cover a variety of topics, including “Game Design,” “Dance for the Camera,” “Emergency Management,” “Monster Workshop” and “Back to the Future: Using Sci-Fi to Read the Human Condition.” The history course “Best Sellers in the First Information Age” will examine the 15th century development of the printing press and its influence in early modern Europe.