UD Students Experience the World for J-Term

Feb 8, 2012 | University of Dubuque Theological Seminary

In the second year of the University of Dubuque's January Term (J-Term) calendar, 798 students participated in classes in an intensive three-week study session.  Of those, 82 used the opportunity to travel - both domestically and internationally.  Courses with a travel component included destinations such as the Bahamas, Belize, China, England, Key West, New York, and Sri Lanka.  

Beyond the Beaches: Serving and Learning in the Bahamas
A team of seven students led by faculty members Henry Pitman, director of the Wendt Center for Character Education, Ruth Pitman, adjunct professor of education, and Cari Simison, assistant professor of education, spent two weeks serving in a variety of capacities at Every Child Counts, a special needs school, on Abaco, Bahamas. The school serves a population of moderately to severely disabled students who would otherwise be ignored or lost in a traditional school setting. As one of the students reflected, "I couldn't have asked for anything better! I've learned many valuable lessons during this trip - how to work as a team, as well as reaching out to children who need a positive role model."  Students experienced what it means to live on a small island with limited resources, and studied the history, government, education system, economy and culture of the Bahamas. The group, had the opportunity to explore some of the unusual natural features such as a Blue Hole, hurricane impacted beaches and offshore cays, and - of course - had the opportunity to "go beachin" as the Bahamians say.

Student travelers included:
Molly Christian, first-year, Verona, WI
Denis Duehr, senior, East Dubuque, IL
Whitney Elgin, senior, Dyersville, IA
Amanda Hansen, senior, Crystal Lake, IL
Shana Kester, senior, Jesup, IA
Tiffany Link, junior, Dubuque, IA
Katherine Lux, senior, Dubuque, IA
Troy Sheehan, senior, East Dubuque, IL

Learn, Serve, and Explore Belize
Amy Baus, director of career and life services, traveled with seven students to join the efforts of ProWorld Service Corps in Punta Gorda, Belize.  Students participated in sustained community development projects, which provide a holistic approach to the needs of the community, such as: physical health, psychological needs, and social well-being.  Students were assigned to work in small groups with freshman and sophomore high school students, in collaboration with the school's counselor and principal. The focus of service with these teenagers was on conflict transformation, decision-making, anger management, and peer pressure.  UD students also had the opportunity to participate in cultural and adventure excursions, such as the exploration of the Lubaantun Maya Ruins, snorkeling off the beaches of the Snake Cayes, as well as enjoying the smell and taste of local cuisine.

Student travelers included:
Rebekah Aronson, junior, Ashland, WI
Abbey Baus, senior (UW-Madison), Cuba City, WI
Kristie Besler, senior, Epworth, IA
Emily Coon, sophomore, Geneso, IL
Kathleen Laughlin, sophomore, Eldridge, IA
Meredith Oostenryk, sophomore (UW-Platteville), Morrison, IL
Temwa Phiri, senior, Lansing, MI

Literature and Culture of China/Economic Policy of Modern China
Ten UD students traveled with Nathan Faries, associate professor of English, and Eric Munshower, associate professor of business, to Beijing and Xi'an.  Participants visited famous sites including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Terra Cotta Warriors at the tomb of China's first emperor. They toured the new National Museum, watched a Chinese Police Chorus perform at the new National Center for the Performing Arts ("the egg," so nicknamed for its shape), and attended a church service to experience the differences between our traditional Western worship and Chinese worship. Students spent virtually all of their time "on the ground" in China - living and traveling with the citizens of the country - instead of on a tour bus. They lived in a traditional "hutong" courtyard-style hostel - emerging each morning through a maze of alleys, bellies full of street food, ready to crowd onto the subways and walk the streets of Beijing. Focusing their trip on exploring just two cities allowed them to grow accustomed to China's everyday life and conform to basic Chinese traditions.  This enriching and challenging trip invited students to appreciate life in the US but also question certain American values--like individualism-- often taken for granted as unqualified goods; some participants professed a desire to live long-term in China at some point, and none who experienced authentic Chinese cuisine will be happy with American Chinese food again.

Student travelers included:
Andrew Fristoe, sophomore, San Antonio, TX
Emmett Glasbrenner, senior, Boscobel, WI
Yanping He, junior, Dubuque, IA
Megan Johnson, junior, Viroqua, WI
Sara Kayser, junior, Dubuque, IA
Garrett King, first-year, Spring Grove, IL
Tyler Kraus, sophomore, Guttenberg, IA
Lisbeth Meyer-Monhardt, first-year, Lancaster, WI
Sunny Petery, senior, Dillsburg, PA
Joshua Ryan, junior, Dubuque, IA

Art and Culture of England
Alan Garfield, associate professor and department head of computer graphics and interactive media, and Amy Ressler, professor of fine and performing arts, took 23 students to London and Canterbury to study the art, culture, and theatre of England.  In London, they stayed at Piccadilly Circus and toured the National Gallery, the British Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery.  They attended several theatre productions, including Les Miserables and Stones in His Pockets, and toured the National Theatre and the Globe Theatre.  Walking tours covered Trafalgar Square, the Burroughs market, and Westminster Abbey where they attended Evensong.  A day trip to Stonehenge included a visit to the Salisbury Cathedral, and the trip ended in Canterbury, where a tour of the Canterbury Cathedral and a pantomime at the Marlowe Theatre served to round out an exciting week. 

Student travelers included:
Lauren Allen, sophomore, Plymouth, IL
William Burdick, sophomore, Mundelein, IL
Jacob Camacho, first-year, Stuttgart, Germany
Joseph Charlson, sophomore, Dubuque, IA
Nichole Cortez, senior, Highland, CA
Kristopher Doss, senior, Clinton, IA
Dustin Elsbernd, sophomore, Calmar, IA
Tia Fuhr, sophomore, Taylor Ridge, IL
Jon Grobstick, senior, Dubuque, IA
Ethan Hall, first-year, Sandwich, IL
Catalina Herrera, sophomore, Bloomington, CA
Katelyn Jolivette, junior, Newton, IA
Steven Kagemann, sophomore, Clinton, IA
Joseph Kilsdonk, sophomore, Appleton, WI
Paul Meyer, junior, Dubuque, IA
Zoe Muehleip, first-year, Dubuque, IA
Aric Nation, sophomore, Milan, IL
Erika Paul, first-year, Okinawa, Japan
Megan Plein, sophomore, Dubuque, IA
Carson Saalsaa, sophomore, Argyle, WI
Donna Shorkey, sophomore, Harrogate, UK
Ashley Timp, junior, Marion, IA
Paige Triervieler, junior, Dubuque, IA

Fitness Adventures in Key West
Fitness Adventures in Key West allowed students the opportunity to engage in a variety of fitness activities including stand up paddle boarding, snorkeling, parasailing, biking, and running. Nine students, led by faculty members Gail Hodge, associate dean for academic affairs, and Janet Jamieson, associate professor of accounting, competed in a 2-day Adventure Race that took teams around the island unscrambling clues and completing tasks to see which team made it to the final "Pit Stop" before all others. Students also competed in a 5K run. On the cultural side of the course, students visited over 10 historic landmarks and museums that they read about and researched prior to the trip. Tours included The Custom House (Art Museum), Aquarium, Hemmingway House, Truman's White House, three forts, Shipwreck Museum, Butterfly Conservatory, Ghost Tour, and city-wide trolley tour. Additionally, students volunteered time in a service-learning project to assist low-income residents of the island, through gardening, painting, and general clean-up around the housing units.

Student travelers included:
Samantha Baraglia, first-year, Epworth, IA
Carlos De La Cruz, first-year, Grand Prairie, TX
Breck Dunne, junior, Burlington, IA
Allen Herrmann, sophomore, Franklin, WI
Molly Huff, junior, Cascade, IA
Paul Krenger, junior, Chicago, IL
Katherine Potter, senior, Dubuque, IA
Jamie Strobel, junior, Carlisle, PA
Amy West, senior, Dubuque, IA

Literature and Culture of New York City
Jonathan Barz, professor of English, and Mary Anne Knefel, University librarian, took ten students to New York City as part of the J-Term class, Literature and Culture of New York. Michele McKinlay, CORE faculty, also accompanied the trip. The class stayed in midtown Manhattan, a short distance from Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and other great sites.  After reading such authors as Edith Wharton, Langston Hughes, and Allen Ginsberg in class, students experienced the places where these-and many other-authors lived and wrote. Students had the opportunity to perform on the stage of the Apollo Theater in Harlem; experienced slam poetry at the Nuyorican Poet's Café in the Lower East Side; and went to The White Horse Tavern in Greenwich Village, Dylan Thomas' favorite watering hole. Other highlights include seeing the Tony-award winning play War Horse, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and touring the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. At the New York Public Library, the class saw a special exhibit that featured such treasures as a Gutenberg Bible, a letter written by Christopher Columbus, and the original Winnie the Pooh. Students were also moved by the recently-opened 9/11 Memorial, as well as by nearby St. Paul's Chapel, which served as a recovery center during the World Trade Center disaster, and contains a permanent exhibit from that time. After five days of walking through neighborhoods from Harlem to Wall Street and navigating the subway everywhere in between, students could say they truly experienced New York. 

Student travelers included:
Steven Farrell, senior, Coldwater, MI
Lauren Gibbons, senior, Dubuque, IA
Terri Gronau, senior, Dubuque, IA
Katherine Knepper, first-year, Dubuque, IA
Lily McKinlay, first-year, Dubuque, IA
Stephanie Moura, senior, Ponce, PR
Stephanie Payne, sophomore, Dubuque, IA
Johannah Rigdon, first-year, Hazel Green, WI
Seth Sample, senior, Dubuque, IA
Kayla Sieverding, junior, Dubuque, IA

Exploring Serendipity - A Multicultural Experience in Sri Lanka
Fifteen students traveled to beautiful Sri Lanka with Rasika Mudalige-Jayawickrama, assistant professor of biology;  David Koch, assistant professor of environmental science, and Lalith Jayawickrama, adjunct professor of environmental science.  Students gained insight on indigenous expertise on plants and animals at the University of Colombo and University of Peradeniya as a part of their Sri Lankan experience.  Because of its history, complex ecosystems, and its long-rooted traditional value in nature conservation packed into a small island, Sri Lanka is an ideal location for education and research.  By immersing themselves in Sri Lankan culture, students attained a better understanding of its contemporary society and the importance placed on environmental awareness and conservation as well as the problems associated with rapid economic development.  Because the island is an ideal ecological and conservation education hub, the trip was designed to provide an opportunity to develop future collaboration with Sri Lankan universities and research programs. Students witnessed the sunrise over the Indian Ocean, explored the island's diverse plant and animal life, visited a primate research center at Polonnaruwa, and climbed a 800 foot tall rock on which was built a 5th century palace complex.  The group had an overwhelmingly positive educational experience.

Student travelers included:
Tameka Brack, senior, Riverdale, IL
Elizabeth Caughron, senior, Bellevue, IA
Kassandra Dickerson, senior, East Dubuque, IL
Elizabeth Dunn, senior, Rock Island, IL
Christine Grannis, senior, Peyton, CO
Gabrielle Gronau, senior, Dubuque, IA
Ta'Shia Hood, junior, Joliet, IL
Arthur Magee, senior, St. Petersburg, FL
Shelby Marr, junior, Baldwin, IA
Eric Martin, senior, Riverdale, IL
BreAnn Nesteby, senior, Dubuque, IA
Claribel Quiles, first-year, Buffalo, NY
Frainaldo Reyes, first-year, Tampa, FL
Tyler Robey, sophomore, East Dubuque, IL
Robert Wemark, senior, Elkader, IA