Article by Mikaela Wall
Photo by Brigitte Rec
May Term is an opportunity for students to learn with a professor full time for a few weeks about a specific topic either on campus or abroad. The beauty of this program is that it gives students an opportunity to work outside of the classroom and immerse themselves in a genre of study or course that interests them.
Although May Term is popular because of the abroad options, many students choose to stay on campus for their May Term. The programs offered on campus are free, which is one reason why students will choose to remain on campus in May. Becca Proctor ’18 stayed on campus this past spring for her May Term: Hollywood Screen Violence. She liked being on campus because she “liked knowing what to expect” instead of an abroad program where each day is different.
On the contrary, Kalyn Fowler ’17 went on her May Term to Argentina at the end of her sophomore year. She chose to do an abroad May Term because, although it was expensive, the experience of travel was well worth it.
“It was somewhere I probably wouldn’t go when I get older,” Fowler said on picking Argentina. “Europe is so accessible and easier to get to by yourself, so I wanted to branch out and broaden my horizons by choosing somewhere I wouldn’t normally go like South America.” She also said that her trip was “organized, but there was freedom”, which is a great advantage of many travel programs.
Sara Howell ’17 also went on an abroad May Term this past spring.
Howell’s May Term in Sri Lanka was a great experience, but not without its challenges. Since Sri Lanka is a third world country, it made adjusting to food and travel difficult. She said it was a real culture shock, because the things that we would normally do day to day, for instance shopping by ourselves or grabbing a coffee, we couldn’t do. In addition, the professor and group of students can ‘make or break a trip’. She said there was not a lot of freedom with her trip, simply because the concern for students safety. But any travel experience is a good experience, so she left the trip feeling accomplished and satisfied.
“Immersing yourself in a different culture was really cool because you got to see how you can adapt to challenges. It was a time of self reflection,” Howell said. “Every day we had a change of scenery, whether it was a city, the mountains, a jungle etc. there was always something going on and something to do. That is what made the trip worthwhile.”
Stay tuned for upcoming May Terms. The travel programs are on the Roanoke website; and available places include Malta, Thailand, Japan, Ghana Greece, Rome, and many more countries. May Term is an incredible opportunity; whether it’s on campus or abroad, students gain unique experience that they would not get anywhere else.