High Point University students have been researching numerous topics such as biodiversity, language and culture across the globe this summer.
Each year, short-term study abroad programs known as Maymesters send students to parts of the world where they immerse themselves into the theories and practices studied in the classroom. In the last month, students embarked on trips to Ecuador, Guatemala, China, and a European tour including Spain, France and Italy.
In Ecuador, eight biology students, along with Dr. Dinene Crater and Dr. Josh Campbell, both assistant professors of biology, explored the biodiversity of animal species in the Amazon Jungle. Their visit included a day at the Charles Darwin Research Center on Santa Cruz Island and a tour of the Galapagos Islands. Species the students encountered on the trip included the red howler monkey, lava lizards, the banded toucan and the blue footed booby. They also toured the country’s major cities, such as Quito, to study its overall culture.
"We had a wonderful and productive trip and saw many different and rare species," says Crater. "The plants, animals, birds and other wildlife in Ecuador are amazing."
To read more about the day to day activities of their trip, visit their blog at hpuecuador2012.blogspot.com.
In Europe, students focused on another topic – "Human Behavior across Cultures," which is a psychology course they took in the spring.
"Students traveled with their classmates and two faculty - Dr. David Bergen, professor of human relations, and Dr. Jana Spain, professor of psychology - throughout Europe to experience how people from various cultures differ in their personalities, emotions, communication styles, gender roles and attitudes," says Heidi Fischer, director of Study Abroad. "They discovered the role culture plays in everyday behavior and relationships, learning and applying the principles of cross-cultural psychology in this exciting global experience."
In China, a group of students focused on language for the Maymester excursion. Students took Chinese language classes each day, and they visited historic sites including the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.
Guatemala was an even more eye-opening experience as about half of the student participants chose to live with Guatemalan host families. This allowed them to further practice the Spanish language in daily interactions, says Fischer. Students also studied Mayan heritage during their time there.
In addition to the international trips, two domestic Maymesters also sent political science students to Washington, D.C. and exercise science students to San Frisco.
"These travels provide students with enlightening new experiences and knowledge about the global community," Fischer says. "It prepares them to think beyond their own door step, and it fosters the development of unique skill sets for their professional lives and in their fields of study."
Students Travel the Globe to Study Biodiversity, Language and Culture
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