June 17, 2008
Last month, more than 100 Morningside College students exchanged their desks and classrooms in Sioux City for more exotic locations around the world in Australia, Guatemala, China, London, Italy and Costa Rica.
Morningside’s May Term courses give students an opportunity to participate in innovative learning experiences that are not offered during any other term at the college. Every year, some May Term classes have a significant travel component that gives Morningside students and faculty an opportunity to study abroad.
A highlight of May Term 2008 was the 14-day tour of China that took 27 members of the Morningside College Choir to some of that nation’s largest cities, including the capital city of Beijing. Another nine Morningside students traveled with the choir to study the political, economic and social dimensions of contemporary China under the supervision of Patrick McKinlay, associate professor of history and political science. Morningside President John Reynders accompanied a group of faculty, staff, alumni and friends who also traveled with the choir.
On the other side of the globe, another group of Morningside students immersed themselves in the study of Spanish by living with families in La Antigua, Guatemala, a colonial town of 28,000 that was founded in 1542. Excursions away from La Antigua gave students the opportunity to visit ancient Maya ruins at Quiriquá and Tikal and the city of Livingston on the Caribbean Coast. Gail Ament, professor and chair of modern languages at Morningside, coordinated this May Term class.
Ecotourism and entrepreneurship in Australia served as central themes of study for students who enrolled in the course organized by Pam Mickelson, professor of business administration and economics. Sydney, Australia’s largest and oldest city, and Cairns, known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, served as two area classrooms for the students, who had opportunities to study World Heritage rain forests, the Great Barrier Reef, the Tjapukai Aboriginal culture, Sydney and Darling harbors, the Sydney Opera House, Bondi and Manly beaches and the Blue Mountain area.
Marty Knepper, professor and chair of Morningside’s English department, took students to London, England, to experience and learn about another culture, both like and unlike their own. Students explored many of London’s historical and cultural sites and attended plays, sporting events and the opera. They also traveled outside of London to Stonehenge, the Roman city of Bath, Blenheim Palace, the cathedral city of Winchester and Oxford University.
Students focused on Italy’s ancient civilizations and their contributions to our own cultural heritage as part of a trip coordinated by Heather Reid, associate professor of philosophy. Starting in Rome, the students visited ancient ruins, museums and tourist attractions such as the Trevi Fountain and the Sistine Chapel. The group also visited three of the best-preserved Greek temples in the world and stopped at Pompeii.
The diverse plant and animal life of Central America served as the backdrop for an ecology and conservation themed travel-study course to Costa Rica. Patricia Kultgen, assistant professor biology and chemistry, immersed students in the natural beauty of Central America as they explored Poas Volcano National Park, Monteverde, the Arenal region and Manual Antonio National Park.
Not all May Term classes take students overseas. Terri McGaffin, assistant professor of art, guided students on a five-day trip to New York City, looking at art and experiencing the city that is home for much of the significant art of the 20th century. The study trip included stops at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim and the Whitney Museum.