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May Term trips resume after two-year hiatus

This graphic depicts May-Term locations ranging from Bluff, Utah to Bangkok, Kalasin, Chiang Mai, and Ko Samet, in Thailand.
The graphic depicts the 2022 May-Term Study Experience locations. “I’m really excited to get out into the world again and travel and enjoy different cultures, different [types of] food, [and] different languages,” said Shellby Carvalho, a junior environmental science major attending The Pen and the Lens May-Term study experience. Graphic courtesy of Lauren Shoughro. Image Description: This graphic depicts May-Term locations ranging from Bluff, Utah to Bangkok, Kalasin, Chiang Mai, and Ko Samet, in Thailand.

May Term Study Experiences, including many study-abroad programs, will resume next month after a two-year hiatus.

With vaccine rollouts and the pandemic slowing down, Westminster College made a commitment to return to MTSEs this year, according to Matt Kruback, professor of painting and drawing. Kruback will be co-leading The Pen and the Lens May-Term Study Experience.

“The last two years have just been foiled by [COVID-19] and enough uncertainty that the decision was issued to say let’s put off [The Pen and the Lens] for one more year,” Kruback said.

Many students said they had to cancel their plans for Spring 2020, including Shellby Carvalho, a junior environmental science major.

“I actually had plans to go [on] the Baja, Mexico trip,” Carvalho said. “Those plans fell through and it didn’t happen.”

Sara Demko, the assistant provost of Global Learning, supports MTSEs by helping plan the trips 12-15 months in advance.

Demko said 114 Westminster students have enrolled in six different May Term trips to travel abroad to experience and study different cultures and places.

May Term trips play an enormous role in showing students different ways of building and nourishing a society, according to Kruback.

Shellby Carvalho, a female student, stands outside, poses on top of a rock structure in Canyonlands, Utah.
Shellby Carvalho, a junior environmental science major, poses on top of a rock structure in Canyonlands, Utah on Nov. 9, 2021. Carvalho is excited to get out into the world again and enjoy different cultures, food, and languages. Photo courtesy of Karson Baker. Image Description: Shellby Carvalho, a female student, stands outside, poses on top of a rock structure in Canyonlands, Utah.

“It is a great way to open your eyes to different [opportunities] of being and [experiencing] how people live differently, what their experiences are, and that these places are incredible models for what we might do,” Kruback said.

In Spring 2020, 24% of students completed their Engaging the World requirement by participating in a May Term Study Experience, according to Demko.

“This is fulfilling the ‘Engaging the World’ requirement. I know you can take May Term classes that are local […] or you can go on study abroad trips,” Carvalho said.

Carvalho said she will be going on The Pen and the Lens trip to Denmark, Sweden and Iceland, and is interested in learning about feminist rights, social policies and refugee policies in those countries.

“I’m really fascinated to learn about that and see how that can be implemented in places like Utah,” Carvalho said. 

The trip will look at social policy, gender equity, arts, the environment and the way those particular disciplines interface in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Reykjavik, according to Kruback.

“I’m really excited to get out into the world again and travel and enjoy different cultures, different [types of] food, [and] different languages,” Carvalho, a junior environmental science major, said of The Pen and the Lens.

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Tommy Howells (he/him) is a junior communications major at Westminster College. When he’s not busy doing schoolwork, Tommy can be found in the Bassis Student Center ordering steamed milk. He enjoys playing video games and binge watching his favorite shows.

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