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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 Italy, London, and Vienna to learn about art, music, theatre, history, business, or politics.

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.

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.

Apply Here!

2015 Spring Break Courses


Destinations:  New York City
Course Numbers:  LALC 277 – Latin@ New York City (Spring Semester)
Cost:  Approx. $1200. $1000 due with application by November 1.  Remaining balance due on January 15.  (Note that the cost listed is an approximation.  Depending on enrollment, the cost can vary between $1,000 and $1,500.) 
  Dr. Brenci Patino
Contact Information


This spring semester course includes a Study Away experience in New York City during Spring Break 2015.  Students will read works of fiction and non-fiction relating to the Latin@ (Latinas and Latinos) experience in the city.  They will put theory into practice by interacting with the people and experiencing the places on whose experiences they will have read.  By having this “real-life” experience, students will further understand the complexity of the Latin@ histories/stories in the United States, as well as their many and unique contributions.


  • Attend a “Mexican Mondays” lecture at Columbia University
  • Visit the Nuyorican Poets Café, and explore Lower East Side
  • Explore the Jackson Heights neighborhood in Queens
  • Visit El Museo del Barrio, and Spanish Harlem
  • Lectures at La Casa Azul Bookstore
  • Tour of Latino murals
  • The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and Harlem
  • Explore the Washington Heights neighborhood in Manhattan
  • The Hispanic Society of America
  • Teatro Círculo
  • Attend a performance of the play “La Gringa” at the Repertorio Español
  • Son Jarocho Community Workshops at Terraza 7 in Queens
  • Bomba and Plena Community Workshop at the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center

2015 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.


Benedict_Cumberbatch_sherlock_holmesDestinations: London, England
Course NumberCJ277 or ENG375
Cost: Approx. $3950
Instructor: Professor Douglas Davis and Dr. Sarah Kennedy
Contact Information:

This course will take students to the United Kingdom to study the criminal justice systems of England and Scotland. The students will be taken to Parliament, Scotland Yard, a local Police Station, Cambridge University, Edinburgh, the Scotland Police College and Scotland Parliament.

The goal of this course is to teach students about the United Kingdom’s criminal justice system in comparison to the United States. During the study abroad trip, students will keep a journal of what they learn and observe. At the end of the course a reflection paper will be submitted on how the United Kingdom system compares to the United States.


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. $3,000, deposit and application due by Oct. 15, 2014 (All inclusive.  Airfare and ground transport, lodging, all meals, and admission fees for scheduled visits)
Instructors: Dr. Paul Callo and Dr. Laura van Assendelft
Contact Information:

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.


Rom_12 (75)aDestination: Italy (Rome, Florence, Venice, Orvieto, Assisi, Pisa, Siena)
Course Number: ART 343
Cost: Approximately $4000.00 (includes all ground transportation, housing, college-required insurance, museum fees, breakfasts, tips, some lunches and some dinners)
Instructors: Dr. Sara N. James
Contact Information:

The Renaissance Studies in Italy Program at Mary Baldwin College  is a rare and exciting opportunity! Students experience a unique, intense immersion into the study of major monuments of Italian art, architecture, and history on site, focusing especially on accomplishments of the Italian Renaissance.  The preparatory classes give the students valuable background knowledge; this way the trip is not overwhelming. The course, ARTH 343, and the trip are fully integrated: the streets, churches, and museums of Italy are our classrooms. Although we visit major cities (Rome, Florence, Venice), based on students’ coursework and their interests, we also visit off-the-beaten-track places such as Orvieto, Assisi, Vicenza, Pisa, and/or Siena. The small size of the group allows flexibility in scheduling, facilitates moving the group on public transportation, and permits quiet discussion on site in museums and churches. Students gain confidence in their body of knowledge about art and Italian culture. They improve their skills in research techniques, the ability to think critically and organize their thoughts, the ability to speak before a group and work well.

MAY TERM IN Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and Geneva (Switzerland)

Destinations:  Amsterdam and Geneva
Course Numbers:  PHIL 211: Modern Political Thought (with an emphasis on Global Justice) or PSYC 277:  Colloquium: The Psychology of Social Justice
Note: students enroll in one course but study and travel together and are enriched by the cross-disciplinary exchange.
Cost:  Approx. $3,500-3700 (Includes all travel, lodging, breakfasts, dinners as noted, and admission fees for scheduled visits.)
  Professors Roderic Owen & Chandra Mason
Contact Information
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This May Term offering will explore issues of global social justice through an international organization perspective.  Two European centers of social justice, Amsterdam and Geneva, have been chosen as our destinations.  While in the Netherlands (lodging in Amsterdam each night), we will travel to The Hague to visit the International Peace Palace, the International Court of Justice, and the International Criminal Court.  We also will consider the issue of human trafficking in the context of legalized prostitution, and continue this exploration with a day trip to Amersfoort to visit the CoMensha Foundation, an organization that is committed to bettering the lives and advocating for victims of human trafficking. While in Amersfoort, we will also visit one of the three concentration camps in Holland during World War II.  Back in Amsterdam, we will visit the Mama Cash Foundation, the oldest international women’s fund in the world that is committed to women’s rights initiatives globally. In addition to these rich experiences, there will be free time for you to visit world-renowned art museums, Anne Frank’s house or take a canal cruise around the city.

After a short flight from Amsterdam to Geneva, we will have a walking tour of the old town of Geneva to become acclimated to our new home for the next six days.  During our time in Geneva, we will visit a number of the international councils and organizations located there, including the World Health Organization, the United Nations Councils on Human Rights and Refugees, the International Labor Organization, the World Trade Organization, and the International Red Cross.  We will also visit the CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider and the birthplace of the Internet.  In Geneva, there will be free time to explore on your own the over 850 year old St. Peter’s Cathedral and catacombs, the house where Jean-Jacques Rousseu was born, and Musée Rath (Geneva’s flagship art museum), all within easy walking distance of our hotel.


bermudaDestinations:  Bermuda
Course Numbers:  ED390 or ED110
Cost:  $2,900 – includes air fare, lodging, some food, field trips; museums, etc.  The finalized price of the trip depends on many variables:  exchange rates, air fare, number of students, number and type of activities, etc.  An additional charge of $100 is required by Mary Baldwin College for travel health insurance.  Oct. 1, 2014 is the scholarship deadline and Nov. 1, 2014 is the deadline for the application and $1,000 deposit.
  Dr. Lowell Lemons and Dr. Jim McCrory
Contact Information

If you have already taken ED 110, you may earn 3 s.h. credit for an Advanced Practicum.  The course will meet the ED 110 Practicum May Term requirement for students pursuing a minor in Education and/or licensure such as for the Education Major in Elementary Education.  One full week will be spent by each MBC student in a classroom with one Teacher.  Cultural experience with the multicultural mix of Bermudian citizens, study of the scourge of slavery, the significance of the sea, visits to Fort St. Catherine, St. Peter’s Church, the World Heritage Centre, the Rogues & Runners National Trust Museum, and the Tucker House Museum.  And, of course, there is the beautiful beach, exotic flora and fauna, snorkeling, and wonderful food.


VersaillesMT13Destinations:  Paris, France
Course Numbers:  French 203 or French 205
Cost:  Approximately $4500* (Includes: airfare; 3 weeks accommodation with a Parisian host family; breakfast & dinner with your host family; tickets to 3 major plays in Paris; museum entrance fees: the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, Versailles; commuter train transportation to Versailles; transportation between Staunton & Dulles Airport; travel insurance
Instructors:  Dr. Martha Walker
Contact Information:

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.


Destinations: Cherident, Haiti
Course Number: COMM 280, CE 102, CE 287/387, ED 577, or ED 514 Practicum.
Cost: Approx. $1700
Instructor: Dr. Bruce Dorries
Contact Information:

Who can go? – This trip is designed for Adult Degree Program and Graduate Teacher Education students in the education fields; however, all Mary Baldwin students (PBTL, RCW, MLitt/MFA) are welcome! Alumni and friends of the college who are interested should contact Dr. Dorries.

Where are we going? – We will be traveling to a small, remote mountain town in Haiti. Cherident is several hours outside of Port Au Prince. We will be staying in a guest house owned by the Haiti Education Foundation. Travelers should be prepared for basic accomodations and communal living. Electricity is on for only several hours a day. We will be sleeping in bunks with shared bathrooms. There is no air-conditioning or amenities.

What are we doing? – We will be building on the information gathered in the Community Needs Assessment survey conducted by Prof. Dodson and Dr. Kennedy, and relationships created during the spring 2014 trip. Our focus will be furthering the educational goals of the community. Potential projects include co-creating teaching walls and classroom murals, cultural exchanges with teachers and students, research on future projects to bring solar to schools and a community center. We will also spend two days/nights in Jacmel, an art community and beach town on the coast.