January may have brought with it cold temperatures and snowy weather, but it didn’t freeze January Term activities for Randolph-Macon College students! This year, a record number of students participated in internships or studied abroad during Randolph-Macon’s unique and enlightening January Term.
Packed with innovative classes, trips, internships and activities, J-term can be a refreshing change of pace and an opportunity for students to explore career interests. And for the 141 R-MC students who spent part of the month on a different continent, this past January offered a chance to be directly exposed to the people, languages, ideas and customs of other cultures.
n addition, this year—for the third year in a row—the college launched its “J-term Diaries” Web site, allowing those who weren’t trekking through South Africa, interning with NATO in Belgium or frolicking with dolphins in the Florida Keys, to live vicariously through dozens of R-MC students doing just that.
Throughout January, 53 Randolph-Macon students and four professors posted semiweekly diaries of their explorations on the R-MC Web site, allowing the site’s more than 300 daily, off-campus visitors the opportunity to listen to their journeys, laugh at their tribulations and empathize with them when they missed the comforts of home.
In particular, 29 Randolph-Macon College students and three faculty members spent two weeks assisting with hurricane relief efforts in New Orleans, serving under the auspices of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). They traveled 16 hours each way by charter bus. They logged more than 2,500 volunteer hours and removed more than 150 tons of debris. They cleaned and gutted fifteen homes. Their volunteer efforts were valued at $42,000. But most importantly, they assisted fifteen New Orleans families further along the road to recovery.
While students reached out in New Orleans, others were immersed in countries and cultures unknown to them. They tried new foods, met new people, forged future career connections, met R-MC alumni and discovered the invaluable opportunities akin to R-MC’s January Term.
R-MC French professor Aouicha Hilliard and five students spent the month in Paris. The eager group of students studied their French phonetics, explored Paris and also visited with alumna Jennifer Sabine ’94, who is the Paris director of International Institute for Learning (IIL). Sabine told the group her work with IIL was a culmination to her studies.
I am doing what I hoped to do when I majored in French and International Studies—to be a bridge between cultures,” she said.
As J-term wound to an end and as dozens of students returned with stories of colorful traditions and exciting lands, almost everyone agreed R-MC’s January Term study/travel experience is one-of-a-kind.
“Before I left for this trip, someone told me to ‘experience it all,’” said R-MC rising junior Carter Augustine, who traveled to Romania for J-term. “I can say that I feel like I really have done that. We have seen all ends of the spectrum. Our cultural experience has been unbelievable, and the connection we have all made with this country will last a lifetime. We have learned so much about this place, and I’m happy to say that my experience has exceeded my expectations in many different and wonderful ways.”
Visit the J-term diariies Web site at http://news.rmc.edu/jterm/2007/ or visit www.rmc.edu/Academics/study-abroad.aspx for more information on Randolph-Macon's Study Abroad program.