The Luther College Center for Global Learning (CGL) opened applications for thirteen off-campus January Term courses on April 1st, 2022. The 2023 offerings include ten international and three domestic courses, altogether offering students the opportunity to study in 12 different countries. The international programs include experiences in Tanzania, Japan, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria, Norway, and Spain. Domestically, courses will be offered in Hawaii, Washington, and Arizona. Four of the available courses meet Paideia 450 requirements, and all available courses satisfy students’ J2 requirements.
“We offer all kinds of study abroad opportunities,” CGL Director Professor Victoria Christman said. “J-terms are shorter, less expensive, and therefore makes study abroad possible for more people. The variety of places that we’re able to send students to is really unusual for a college of our size.”
The majority of courses planned for the 2023 J-term have not been offered since before the pandemic. Chelle Meyer, Luther’s Program Director for Off-Campus J-terms, discussed the center’s optimism for the upcoming programs.
“We’re hopeful that the programs this year will be more similar to pre-covid J-terms,” Meyer said. “We’ll be requiring the vaccine series again, and possibly a second booster depending on when students first had that series.”
The Center for Global Learning organizes J-term courses within a variety of disciplines, ranging from the humanities to STEM. The subject of the course often influences the locale, with the goal of all to offer deeper ways for students to experience new cultures. Off-campus J-terms have historically been Luther’s most popular study abroad programs. Students of all majors are able to participate, including those in disciplines where it is not necessarily feasible to spend an extended period off-campus.
“Sometimes, depending on your major, a J-term experience is really the only thing that will fit in a student’s schedule,” Meyer said. “It makes study abroad possible for students majoring in nursing, education, and other areas.”
Study abroad is often encouraged as an avenue for students to broaden their horizons and gain new perspectives. A special emphasis is often placed on students studying a language, as J-term trips can be used to facilitate immersion experiences. The upcoming Spanish J-term course, “Spanish 340: Language and Culture in the Spanish-Speaking World”, will offer students the opportunity to study in multiple cities within the country of Spain.
“Our students live with host families for the majority of time we are in the country,” Professor of Spanish David Thompson, the instructor for Spanish 340, said. “Students also take courses at a language school, and gain a greater depth of learning by getting to know a particular city. It allows students to go to another place, experience another culture, and gain a stronger awareness of culture and how it shapes our daily life and interactions.”
J-term trips can be used to satisfy all-college requirements, and draw a diverse group of students. Christman outlined the ways in which this can lead to a better understanding of what it means to “Be Community” when students are away from campus.
“Anytime you immerse yourself in a different culture, you’ll grow as a person,” Christman said. “Students who go on J-term don’t go as tourists, they go as students, [and] they’re interacting with people in this foreign environment with an analytical lens. Those students have the chance to deeply connect and then stay connected, so it really does build community.”
Students interested in off-campus J-term courses can review the course listings and find application information here (https://www.luther.edu/global-learning/apply/luther/jterm/). The priority deadline for applications is April 22, 2022. A second round of applications for any available spots will be open for submission from August 22-September 16, 2022.