May term offers students unique off-campus study experiences

GOSHEN, Ind. – Participating in an excavation in the Southwest, trekking through Amazon rainforests in South America and snorkeling through coral reefs in the Florida Keys are just a few of the ways Goshen College students spent their class time during May term.

May term, a three-week academic term during which students concentrate on one class, offers a wide variety of unique educational experiences. While a number of courses are held on campus, off-campus opportunities are available that take students as far away as Paris and Spain to study subjects such as art, history and business.

A group of students who traveled to Paris, France, learned about European historical works and architecture. The Art in France class, taught by Professor of Art John Blosser, visited major art venues, including the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and the Pompidou Center. Students experienced the engaging culture of Paris in a variety of ways, from popular night spots with laser shows to an evening at the Opera Bastille for a performance of Don Quixote. “The City of Lights absolutely provided a rich reservoir of art, architecture and cultural engagements that will live with us all for many years,” said Blosser.

Business students enjoyed a unique perspective of business concepts in another country. Offered every other year, the Business in Spain class traveled to Barcelona with Professor of Economics Del Good and studied international marketing, the Spanish financial system and how to manage cultural differences in the business world. In between lectures and study time, the students had a chance to tour the city and regional attractions.

Assistant Professor of Spanish Dean Rhodes traveled with a group of students to the South American country of Peru. The class, titled Lost Empires of Peru, included forays into the rain forest and along the Inca Trail, as well as a trip to Machu Picchu, also known as the Lost City of the Incas.

“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see so much of Peru in such a short time,” said Thushan Hemachandra, a senior from Sri Lanka, who especially enjoyed interacting with the local people. Rhodes has led other groups to Peru after becoming familiar with the ecologically and culturally rich country during a term of voluntary service.

In Colorado, Associate Professor of History Jan Bender Shelter and students in the History of the Southwest class explored methods of learning history aside from traditional written archival sources. Along with lectures and museum tours, the class studied recently recovered artifacts of the region and participated in their own excavation. “A lot was packed into three weeks and the students found that this kind of intensive experiential learning is a great way to go,” said Shetler.

Mennonite Women: Voices on Video was a class that took place both on- and off- campus. Students traveled as far away as Los Angeles and New Mexico to videotape interviews with Mennonite women across the United States. The students then returned to Goshen to edit the tapes and produce a final documentary on Mennonite women of color. Pat McFarlane, associate professor of communication, and Ed Cundiff, instructor of broadcast communication, taught the class.

Several courses were also offered away from the main campus, but relatively nearby, at the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center. In Ornithology, students studied the natural history, taxonomy and conservation of birds and learned visual and aural identification. Students of the Ecology class focused on the dynamics of natural biological organisms and communities. They were also taught the impact of human natural ecosystems and how to live sustainably.

Other biology classes took place in the Florida Keys during May term at the college’s marine biology laboratory and residential facility. Professor of Psychology Duane Kauffman led students through the Marine Biology and Biology of the Sea classes, where they learned about marine life, seeds, plants and insects of the Keys. Students participated in lectures, lab work, boat trips and snorkeling.

There are also three groups of students studying abroad in the college’s summer Study-Service Term (SST) program. The groups are located in Costa Rica, led by Keith and Ann Graber Miller; the Dominican Republic, led by Jim and Lisa Caskey; and Senegal, led by Samuel and Noka Zadi.
– by Melanie Histand

Goshen College, established in 1894, is a four-year residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” Kaplan’s “Most Interesting Colleges” guide and U.S.News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit

Editors: For more information, contact News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or