Ghana, West Africa was one of R-MC's
2008 J-term destinations.
Costa Rica was another destination
for 2008 J-term students.
Nearly 200 R-MC students have jetted off to eleven destinations as part of the college’s
popular January Term (J-term) travel-study program. Students typically spend two
weeks on campus doing in-classroom research before heading to new horizons.
The 2009 J-term Diaries are now online!
This year, several students from seven of the eleven J-term travel courses are sending
blog entries back to R-MC. The blogs—or virtual “diaries”—enable travelers to share
their adventures with the R-MC community and beyond. Visitors to the R-MC Web
site can read blog entries, known as J-term Diaries, at the following address:
J-term destinations for 2009 are: Haiti, South Africa, Australia, China,
Brazil, Spain, India, Turkey, England, France and Guatemala.
An important component of many J-term courses is service learning, a teaching
and learning strategy that meshes community service with instruction to enrich the
learning experience, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities.
Darrell Headrick, the college chaplain, and R-MC Professor Emeritus Ira Andrews
are in Guatemala with their students during J-term. Headrick and Andrews teach a
course that explores the religion, history, culture, cosmology and economics of
the Maya of Guatemala.
R-MC students traveling to Guatemala will be involved in three service learning
projects. The first involves building ventilated stoves. The leading cause of mortality
in Mayan communities is upper respiratory infections, which is linked to the practice
of cooking over open fires in tiny, unventilated homes. The benefits of ventilated
stoves are threefold: they are healthier, more fuel efficient and better for the
Students will also participate in the Mayan Arts Program, designed to foster the
preservation of the Mayan culture. The group will share basic art concepts with
Mayan children in village schools, with special attention given to the traditional
themes and philosophies of the Mayan people. R-MC students will also collaborate
with Mayan children by designing and painting murals for community school buildings.
In addition, students will offer hands-on help by participating in various stages
of reforestation, from soil preparation and transplanting to working in nurseries.
Severe soil erosion has contaminated drinking water, and there is a critical need
to replace the vast tracts of forest that have disappeared throughout Guatemala.
Professors Alphine Jefferson, Ph.D. (history) and Reber Dunkel, Ph.D. (sociology)
have touched down in Brazil with 20 of their J-term students. The group will explore
the cultural terrain of Rio de Janeiro, ascend the magnificent Pão de Açúcar (Sugar
Loaf Mountain) and attend a Candomblé (Afro-Brazilian) religious service and a workshop
on capoeira (an Afro-Brazilian martial art) in Salvador, Bahia. In addition, they
will participate in several service learning projects. R-MC students will distribute
clothing and school supplies at the Steve Biko Institute and teach English to students
at the Eugenia Anna dos Santos elementary school, both located in Salvador. Community
service is an important part of the trip, according to Dunkel. “It places our students
in cross-cultural situations on a personal level,” he says. “The interaction between
Afro-Brazilian and American youth is a mutually beneficial experience in learning
about the differences and common bonds among people.”
So be sure to visit www.rmc.edu throughout January as the students
blog! Then buckle up, lean back and enjoy J-term through the blog entries of some
lucky wayfarers as they explore new worlds…and a little bit about themselves, too.