This Galapagos sea lion naps peacefully with a group of her friends under the cozy sun.
This Galapagos sea lion naps peacefully with a group of her friends under the cozy sun.

Interterm travel courses broaden Chapman University students’ horizons


Interterm travelers return for spring semester with stories, photos and profound experiences from learning and studying on the road.

Chapman University’s January interterm can mean different things for different students. For many, interterm is an opportunity to focus on project-oriented interterm courses in campus classrooms, studios and  labs.  But for others it’s an opportunity to explore the world, from Cuba to New York. These three-unit travel courses promote a hands-on experience and let the students who attended return to campus with some real-world experience in tow.

Professors say there’s nothing like travel studies to enrich the classroom experience.


Ready for his — or her ? — close up is a Galapagos tortoise, one of the many species Chapman students get to observe during interterm trips to the islands.

Julye Bidmead, Ph.D., associate professor in the
Department of Religious Studies
, brought a group of students to New Orleans for nine days as part of her course
Women and Religion: Voodoo in Context.
There they examined women’s roles in religious traditions, including leadership. They focused on women’s role in Voodoo to understand the intersection between gender and society.

“To me, the highlight of the trip was realizing how this class and travel experience opened up students’ eyes to different and new perspectives about women in religion, race and gender,” Bidmead said. “The main thing I want students to learn is that Voodoo is not a satanic, baby-sacrificing cult that Hollywood has given us, but a legitimate world religion that focuses on healing, harmony and an open-mindedness toward all religions. Voodoo also empowers persons who are often marginalized in other religions.”

Since 1986, Professor Fred Caporaso, Ph.D., in the
Schmid College of Science and Technology
has led interterm trips to the Galápagos to observe the biodiversity that Charles Darwin studied and which led to Darwin’s development of the theory of evolution.

people in a castle

Chapman students in the class
Strategic Communications in Communist Cuba
tour La Cabana Fortress in Havana harbor.

Other interterm students got an insider’s look at Cuba just a month after the White House announced plans to re-establish U.S. commercial and diplomatic ties with the island nation. In both a documentary film course taught by Jeff Swimmer and Mel Metcalfe and a
Communication Studies
class led by Michael D. Ross and Lisa Sparks, Ph.D., the students met artists, diplomats and everyday Cubans as they explored the country’s history and culture.


Related stories about interterm:

Interterm is prime time for television producing students at Dodge College

ChapmanxSilicon Valley — Don’t miss out again

Business students say Walk Down Wall Street opens doors to jobs

Graduate students get a taste for food industry during interterm tours

Language immersion was a primary goal of a class based in Munich and led by
World Languages
faculty members Heather Ter-Jung and Karen Gallagher, Ph.D. For the most part, students spent their mornings studying German and afternoons and evenings touring cultural and historical sites, venturing as far afield as Salzburg, Austria.

David Kost, assistant professor in the
College of Performing Arts
, took a group of students to New York for two weeks to explore different aspects of the entertainment industry, ranging from film to opera. Many make their way there after graduation and should have a taste of it before they go, Kost said.

“I’m definitely a big believer of travel courses because I think they’re very good ways for students to broaden their horizons and also, for my students, to see why they’re going into the entertainment business,” Kost said. “They learned that there are so many ways to pursue this, with anything from feature films to theatrical performances. Their life could take them in a lot of different places, and really this trip just showed them that there’s a big world out there waiting after college.”

jackson square

Fair weather allowed students to take in the sights and sounds of old New Orleans.


jars of things

Voodoo elixirs are among the artifacts at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum.


person in costume

A visit to the Louisiana State Art Museum offered a glimpse into a colorful culture.


people looking at flags

Students experience The Rockefeller Center in New York


group of people at a table

During their New York City visit students meet with commercial producer and Chapman University alumnus Galen London.


three women on stage

Sami Harrelson ’15, Ashley Gasparian ’15 and Leandra Romero ’15 have some fun pretending that they stumbled into a newscast on the set of
CBS This Morning
during Professor Pete Weitzner’s
Networking in New York and D.C.
broadcast journalism travel course.

group walking down street

1 comment

  • If I hadn’t gone abroad for interterm during my senior year in the London Theater Tour I never would have made it in the career I am in today (I’m now Senior Writer for the Long Beach Business Journal). That course gave me direction in life, even if I didn’t know it at the time.

Your Header Sidebar area is currently empty. Hurry up and add some widgets.