May Term Study: At Home or Abroad

May Term trip

Each May Term, faculty offer short-term study courses in a variety of domestic and international destinations.

A May Term trip is a great option for students who can’t or don’t want to dedicate an entire summer, semester, or year to studying away from campus.  It’s an exciting chance to get outside the classroom and learn by experiencing the world first-hand.

For anywhere between two and three weeks, Mary Baldwin students have the opportunity to study or perform community service in locations such as France, Costa Rica, South Africa, Peru, and Japan. Each trip is different; some tour several sites or countries, while others stay in one place. Students stay in homes or small hotels and often travel by public transportation. But one thing is always the same; students are always taught and accompanied by one or more full-time members of the Mary Baldwin faculty with expertise in the subject and location.

May Term courses are offered in many disciplines. Language programs improve students’ speaking and listening skills and provide cultural context for the language. Cultural programs take students to locations such as Prague, London, and Costa Rica to learn about art, theatre, or science.

Visit the study abroad library at the Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement for more information. Students may be eligible to apply financial aid; contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

All program costs include round-trip airfare, accommodations, and course-related expenses.  See the course instructor or the Office of Financial Aid for a breakdown of additional expenses, if any.

Please note: students must be in good academic standing (2.0 GPA minimum) to participate in May Term Abroad. They will also undergo a Student Life clearance to ensure that they have no behavioral issues.

I would not have gone to as many places and experienced as many things (academically or not) if I had not been studying abroad.

May Term pretty girls teaching

This trip changed my outlook on the world. I will no longer be blind to the injustices and atrocities that take place around the globe.

2016 May Term Courses

The completed May Term Study Abroad application, Participation Agreement, and non-refundable deposit of $1,000 are due November 1. Balance of payment due February 1. Interested participants may contact the instructor directly to request admission to the course after the deposit deadline.


Destinations: London, England
Course NumberTheatre 208
Cost: Approx. $4,000
Tentative dates: 4/27 – 5/16
Instructor: Professor Terry Southerington and Dr. Sarah Kennedy


In this course, students stay for three weeks in shared flats in Bloomsbury in London while seeing and discussing approximately 10 plays in different theatres each night.  As a result, participants will see some of the important theatres and architectural styles in theatre history as well as the plays.  The cost includes a trip to Stratford and performance there as well as a play and backstage tour of the Globe. In addition to the theatre, students have afternoons and weekends with easy access to museums, galleries, and historical sites.

Tropical Ornithology

costa rica birdDestination: Costa Rica (San Jose, La Selva Biological Station, Chiriqui Highlands, Irazu Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve )
Course Number: BIOL 250 Neotropical Field Ornithology (4hrs – International Credit)
Cost: Approx. $2,800
Tentative dates: 5/3 – 5/16
Instructors: Dr. Paul Callo


We will spend two weeks in beautiful Costa Rica studying resident and migratory birds and conservation issues during May Term.  Costa Rica, a country the size of West Virginia, is home to 880 species of birds (West Virginia has less than 300!).  During our travels across the country (yes we will see a lot of Costa Rica!) you will have opportunity to not only study the fantastic bird life, but you will also learn how Costa Rica approaches the stewardship of their natural resources through conversations with our local guide, coffee farm owners, lodge owners, park rangers, and others.  We will contrast their efforts with the conservation work that goes on in the United States and see how we differ in our approaches.  The wildlife, the landscape, and the people will leave you with lasting memories and a lifelong appreciation.

Studio Art in Prague

Destination: Prague, Czech Republic
Course Number: ART 245
Cost: Approximately $3,500
Tentative dates: TBA
Instructors: Professor Paul Ryan and Professor Jim Sconyers


Immersed in the history and culture of one of Europe’s most beautiful and enchanting cities, students will use the language of visual form through a variety of drawing media and photography to create representational and abstract images that record their interactions with and observations of “Magic Prague.”  Participants will explore a range of historical and cultural sites and institutions in and beyond Prague, including Prague Castle, the Lobkowicz Palace, Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, Petrin Hill, the town of Kutna Hora, Terezin, Lidice, and much more.


Destination: Oaxaca, Mexicomexico 1
Course Numbers:  LALC 218 plus either SPAN 150 or SPAN 210
Cost:  Approx. $2,750
Tentative dates: TBA
  Dr. Brenci Patino


This course offers complete cultural and linguistic immersion through formal classroom instruction and home stays with local families. In addition to taking language and culture courses daily, during their stay in the city of Oaxaca, students will travel to Zapotec archeological sites in the vicinity such as Monte Albán, Mitla, and Yagul. Additionally, students will participate in daily workshops that include, but are not limited to, Oaxacan painters, alebrije-making, dance, Oaxacan cuisine, and music.

Intercultural Communication in Haiti

:  Cherident and Jacmel, Haitihaiti 1
Course Numbers:  COMM 280
Cost:  Approx. $1,750
Tentative dates: 5/6 – 5/13
  Dr. Bruce Dorries


Students will utilize intercultural communication skills to work with residents of Cherident, Haiti. Specifically, the students will be engaged in a community service learning project to benefit education in the partner community. This project will be at the heart of the experience, providing opportunities to connect theory learned in readings and discussions with practice. Additionally, the trip will include two days in the arts/beach town Jacmel.

MAY TERM IN France: Everyday French

VersaillesMT13Destinations:  Paris, France
Course Numbers:  French 203 and French 255
Tentative dates: 4/24 – 5/14
Cost:  Approximately $4500
Instructors:  Dr. Martha Walker


This course will have two components: a three-week academic course on French theater & a three-week home-stay with a French family.

Theater course:  Students will spend weekday mornings in class reading & discussing 3-4 plays over the course of the term in preparation for attending productions of these plays while in Paris.  Student assignments, in addition to the obvious reading, will include written analyses and oral exposés.  Students successfully completing the course will receive a traditional letter grade and 3 semester hours of course credit for French 255.

Home-stay: Students will be placed with families in the Paris area, giving them the opportunity to hone day-to-day language skills in their living environment as well as to experience French culture from the inside.  They will keep a journal in French of this experience and have weekly individual meetings with me to discuss life with their French families and evaluate their own Successful completion of the home-stay and its evaluative components will result in credit for Everyday French, French 203 (3 s.h.), on a P/NC basis.

2016 Summer Courses

Autism on the Seas: Alaska

Destination: Canada and Alaskaautism 3
Course Number: ED 640 or ED 514 (student chooses)
Cost: Approximately $3,100
Dates: June 23 to July 1
Instructors: Dr. Rachel Potter


The course will include an experience on board a 7-day cruise to Alaska (Summer 2016) including travel to and from Seattle, the port of departure/return. The cruise will be offered in partnership with Autism on the Seas, and will include a group of families traveling with children who have autism and related developmental disabilities. Students will supplement (not supplant) the Autism on the Seas staff in the care and support of the children and families in our travel group.



Destinations: Bermuda, St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, Haiti
Course Number: OT/PT Level 1 Pediatric Clinical Experience
Cost: Approximately $2,600 (does not include airfare to New Jersey)
Dates: August 11 – August 20
Instructors: Dr. Rachel Potter


Up to six OT/PT MDCHS students entering their final year of study will be eligible to accompany Dr. Rachel Potter and the Autism on the Seas staff for a phenomenal opportunity.  The group will be traveling with a large number of families who have children (minors and adults) with autism and other developmental disabilities. During the cruise, the OT/PT students will assist the families with port arrival and disembarkation, mealtimes, ship-board and port-side activities, pool/beach time, and other individual needs throughout the voyage.  OT students will be able to receive credit for their Level 1 Pediatric clinical experience with this option, and will have additional reflective assignments tied to this course.

Virginia Program at Oxford

Destination: Oxford, England
Courses: History / English (6 credit hours)
Cost: Approximately $7,900; however, very generous scholarships are available for qualified MBC students.
Application Deadline: February 15, 2016
Dates: TBA – late June through early August
MBC Contact: Dr. Mary Hill Cole

See Dr. Cole for application materials.

The summer, join a select group of students from participating Virginia Colleges as they have a unique opportunity to study at St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford in England. The program follows the English Tutorials conducted by Oxford dons. Tutorial groups are small, allowing for considerable individual attention and active participation. Cost includes full tuition, room, board, and group excursions to the Royal Shakespeare Company productions in London and Stratford-upon-Avon.