Hamline News

Hamline Students Engage with World Cultures and International Issues During J-Term Study Abroad Trips.


Issues like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and globalization are frequently front-page news. But over January term 2012, Hamline undergraduate and graduate students experienced many global locales and international topics first-hand.

This year, 122 students went abroad over J-term. Undergraduates traveled to Israel and Palestine, India, Thailand and Cambodia, Britain, and Mexico. The group studying Israel and Palestine investigated the roots of the continuing conflict. In Mexico, students took a theory-to-practice education course. The Thailand and Cambodia course explored the ancient history of the region. At the same time, graduate students from the School of Business headed to the United Arab Emirates to learn about international commerce.

“This was a very timely trip,” Gavin Sanchez, a senior psychology major who went to Israel, said. “These issues are very complex and my experience abroad helped me better understand the origins of the conflict and possible solutions.”

On these short-term trips, Hamline faculty teach subject-specific curriculums to ensure that students receive an academically rigorous class. Students have the same academic coursework of a normal Hamline class, but they do the work on-site. The countries that students travel to are chosen for specific reasons.

 “We have faculty that lead trips every two years,” Kari Richtsmeier, director of off campus and international programs, said. “The locations of these trips are dictated by where we have faculty to support programming.”

The popularity of short-term study abroad courses has grown significantly in recent years according to Richtsmeier. The month-long trips provide a less-intimidating first study abroad experience in which students travel with Hamline classmates and are taught by a Hamline faculty.

“Hamline students are adventurous,” Richtsmeier said. “Especially after being given a chance to test the waters of study abroad.”

According to the Off-Campus and International Programs Office, 93% of students who go on month-long trips will later go on another month-long or longer term study abroad trips.

“We are proud to say that our students don’t only go to Europe. We are seeing a lot of interest in Asia and Latin America,” Richtsmeier said.

Richtsmeier attributes the trend towards more interest in less traditional study abroad locations to increased student comfort with going abroad. Richtsmeier adds that study abroad trips help students to develop an international perspective that they carry throughout their lives.

“It was amazing to watch the students on the trip start seeing where they fit in this huge global community,” Kelly Christ, a graphic design director at Hamline and was faculty colleague on Cambodia trip, said.

Read the Israel and Palestinian student blog and see photos from the Cambodia and Thailand course below. For more information on these trips and study abroad options, visit the Off Campus and International Programs office.