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Students take advantage of final J term

From Europe to Asia, Guilford College students spent January term all over the world.

“It was fantastic in so many ways,” said senior Hannah Brewer-Jensen, who spent January term in Germany taking a course called “Alp Dreams” with Chair and Professor of Foreign Languages David Limburg.

“I thought that it was kind of different from my abroad experiences during the semester because I knew most of the people and … it was so small, we had a different dynamic.”

Several took advantage of this J term knowing it would be the last due to financial reasons.

“This is actually my first J term class, and I think it was one of my favorite experiences at Guilford,” said Brewer-Jensen. “Honestly, I’m really sad that the students next year won’t have that opportunity.”

Professors like Associate Professor of Religious Studies Eric Mortensen hope that the end of J term will mean more of an emphasis on other study abroad opportunities during the semester and summers.

“I think students learn best through experience and through reflecting on that experience rather than just talking and reading,” said Mortensen.

Instructor of Art Maia Dery led her “Surfing Centuries” course in Costa Rica for one last time, where students learn to surf at a school in Nosara.

“I knew this year was going to be really busy,” said senior Anna Lichtiger. “I did want to take something over J term and had heard really good things about it.”

Several countries North, students worked at a Friends’ school in Belize City.

“I knew I wanted to take advantage of the last January term here,” said sophomore Katie Claget. “I’m involved in the Quaker Leadership Scholars Program, so (working) on a Friends’ school (in Belize) made sense.”

In China, Mortensen led students down the silk road.

“It was an adventure,” said Mortensen. “We took the biggest study abroad class Guilford has ever had, so 20 students and Vance Ricks. I brought the students overland … all the way across China.

“It was different from other study abroad programs we had done because it tied into a course we had already taught. The majority of students already had a full semester studying this place. They knew where they were.”

Several students studied in the United States, as well. Many went to the Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico, to take classes in photography, yoga and others.

“It was really fun,” said first-year Natalie Whitmeyer. “I met a lot of cool people.”

More students still opted to take classes at Guilford. One such class was The Binge with Professor of English Heather Hayton, during which students binge on television shows, books and video games.

“The Binge is really fun,” said junior Kinye Watson. “It’s also really exhausting because you have to put in at least eight hours a day into your binging. You have to keep track of the data, how many calories you’re taking in, your exercise regiment, stuff like that.

“Being able to focus on one class can be mentally draining, but it lets you give 110 percent to the one class.”

For students who did not get to experience certain classes, there is hope yet. The “Surfing Centuries”, for example, course may be moved to the summer. Several courses may be taught during the semesters, such as the woodworking course taught by Professor of English Jim Hood ’79.

“With the introduction of the sustainable food system’s major, that is definitely a solid possibility,” said senior Seren Homer of the woodworking course. “There is definitely an interest there by other students.”

Students like senior Taylor Brown are excited to use what they have learned over the three-week course.

“I’m a digital graphics designer, or I do digital art that way,” said Brown, who took Digital Graphic Design. “I feel as though I now have another tool to use for my art.”

With all the fun students had this past J term, many are sad to see it ending.

“Last year I was in Godspell and my freshman year, I did a study abroad trip,” said senior Ellie Weiner, who took Ancient Greece, and interdisciplinary studies course this J term. “I am glad that I’m a senior because I have used it well. I have been able to do things I wouldn’t have been able to do normally, like study abroad and be in a production.”

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