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Experience travel in a May term

By Alyssa Nehring–Morningside has a lot of unique features that come with being a liberal arts school. One of these features is that students have to take a May term. May terms are three-week courses that are led by faculty after the end of the spring semester.

Beth Hinga, Associate Dean and campus study abroad administrator, believes May terms are valuable for students. “The whole idea of May terms is to have four credits to explore and find something they want to learn and keep with them forever,” she said.

There are two types of May terms available. On-campus May terms and travel May terms that take place throughout the United States and internationally. On-Campus May terms will be announced at the begin of spring semester, and travel May terms are currently available to sign up.

“Travel is a great experience in college, if the student is able. May terms create a safe environment to do this,” Hinga said.

May terms focus on experiential learning, which other courses can’t provide in the same way. Travel is a good way to achieve May term’s experiential requirement.

Anthony Kern, chair of the Biology and Chemistry Department, believes May terms are highly beneficial. Kern, with the help of Patrick Blaine, is teaching Pens and Paddles, a canoeing May term that takes place in Voyageurs National Park in Northern Minnesota, near the boundary waters. Students will canoe through the Park and completely coexist with nature in a non-developed area. “Adventure learning is much what this May Term is about,” explains Kern.

This year there are 11 available travel May terms and they are called Best Friends Animal Society in Utah, Whitewater and Ocean Kayaking, Swamp People, Pens and Paddles, Run Vancouver, Education in Finland and Sweden, Brewing and Beer Culture, The New Berlin, Pure Vida Costa Rica, Spanish Immersion in Guatemala, and Exploring London.

Currently (Oct. 15) both the Pure Vida Costa Rica and Exploring London are full at twenty students; all others have openings. Each travel May term has different amount of students needed to be enrolled in order for the trip to take place. Students can enroll at the Business Office with a non-refundable deposit (each trip has a different deposit amount). Trips without enough students enroll with start to be cancelled mid-October.

However, starting next year there is going to be a change with May terms. Professors that propose a travel May term must also submit an idea for an on campus May term. This way if a travel May term doesn’t reach enrollment the professor still has the opportunity to teach a may term that year.