Jan Term Provides Opportunities to Explore

Andrew Velnoskey

Staff Reporter

It is the time of year to choose a Jan Term class, something to keep you occupied when otherwise you would be back home doing absolutely nothing, waiting for the weather to get warm.

But the fact of the matter is that Jan Term is more than a way to stave off boredom, it is a chance to study something you might not have thought about or had time to study before. It is a chance to push yourself beyond the usual semester-long class and study one thing intensely for a couple weeks. Plus, everyone needs at least one Jan Term during their career on the Hill, so there are no excuses. If you haven’t gotten one under your belt yet, or even if you have, here are some ways to spice up your winter break:

Of course, the study tour is one of the most exciting ways to spend Jan Term. Anyone interested in this should check out the page www.mcdaniel.edu/JanTerm for a full list of courses going abroad. Among the courses offered this year are: “Study Trip to Budapest: Encountering Diversity,” “Globetrotting: China,” “From Aztecs to Anglos: Aging in the Americas,” “Animating Life,” (trip to Disneyworld) and the always popular “Exploring Belize.”

These courses carry a substantial price as one might imagine, but the cost is still reasonable considering what a similar trip would cost if planned privately. Prices depend on a number of factors, notably distance and frequency of travel. For example, the Belize trip is $2600, the Budapest trip $2700, and the China trip $3500.

Professor Herb Smith annually takes students on a trip to Belize, home of the world’s second largest barrier reef. While on the 11 day trip, students get the opportunity to fish, snorkel, and help the turtles and other wildlife of Belize by doing a beach clean-up.

The trip also includes a trip to see Mayan ruins. Belize is a great place to visit because it is a pioneer of conservation, as 40% of its total area (both land and sea) is protected by the government.

Even so, the country is not immune to the harmful effects of humans. Since starting the Belize Jan Term ten years ago, Professor Smith has noticed a sharp decline in certain fish like the Parrot fish, which help clean coral reefs and keep them healthy. The trip educates students about such problems and the importance of conservation while also allowing them to relax and have fun. This is the real strength of the trip, Professor Smith says. Anyone interested should contact Professor Smith; there are still spots available.

There are also plenty of courses offered here on campus during January for a flat fee of $650, plus $250 board (half-credit EPE classes are $160 each). Everything from Basic Algebra, to Weight Training, to Coping with Stress is offered.

Of particular interest is another of the “Reacting to the Past” classes where students debate issues and make decisions as if they were actually involved in the historical event they are studying. This time, the class is on Art in Paris in the 1880’s and is taught by Gretchen McKay.

For students not wanting to stay on campus or go abroad, completing an internship is another way to satisfy the Jan Term requirement while gaining valuable experience.

Registration for Jan Term began on September 21 for students who are planning to graduate in May 2010 and have not yet taken a Jan Term course. As of September 30, registration is open to everyone and will remain open until January 3. All non-EPE Jan Terms are 2 credits.