Honors Study Away Courses

2020 Honors Study Away Courses

Religious study students at the Dead Sea Scrolls, Israel, January 2018 . Photograph by Greg West.

HON 200: Israel, Palestine, and the Art of Waging Peace

Description:This course focuses on conflict mediation within a part of the world that is known for its deep challenges and divides. It involves Christian/Muslim and Jewish/Palestinian conversations. The course includes a homestay in Bethlehem and visits to key sites in Israel (especially Jerusalem), including the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, each of which is a focus of controversy. It also includes the opportunity to climb Masada and swim in the Dead Sea. This course creates an ideal environment for thoughtful discussions on society, religion, politics, and culture.
Destination: Israel/Palestine
Course Dates: January Term 2020 (January 6-25, 2020)
Tentative Travel Dates: January 7-17, 2020

For more information, contact Prof. Craig Wansink (cwansink@vwu.edu)


Enchanted Forest, Hanau, Germany. Photograph by Pixabay.

HON 200: Places of Enchantment: Fairy Tales and Folktales in Germany

Description: This course offers an in-depth look at the European origins of fairy tales and folktales, their functions, and the messages they communicate as depicted in literature, media, and culture. By approaching these tales from multiple perspectives, students understand their dimensions and role in culture and society. This study will take place in the primary countries of origin, namely Germany and Denmark, where the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, respectively, conceived and wrote their famous fairy tales.
Destination: Germany
Course Dates: Summer 2020
Tentative Travel Dates: May 18-25, 2020

For more information, contact Prof. Terry Lindvall (tlindvall@vwu.edu)

Ghanian Port Fishing Boat. Photograph by Pixabay.

HON 200: Cultural and Musical Studies in Ghana

Description: This course provides an opportunity to experience Ghanaian society, music, and culture first hand. It equips students with the conceptual and intellectual tools to analyze a foreign culture, engage in critical thinking and field observation, and appreciate diversity. The course emphasizes the varied ways that the Ghanaian government and people have used cultural resources to attract foreign tourists in order to support local development. In addition, it provides students with an opportunity to examine the impact of tourism on individuals and society with a particular emphasis on the transformation of values and the local culture.
Destination: Ghana
Course Dates: Summer Semester 2020
Tentative Travel Dates: May 25-June 14, 2020

For more information, contact Prof. Bryson Mortensen (bmortensen@vwu.edu)

The Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada, June 2019. Photograph by Chris Haley.

HON 200: Natural and Cultural History of Newfoundland

Description: This interdisciplinary course is an exploration of the cultural, geologic, and natural histories of a unique and remote part of North America. Newfoundland’s spectacular geology allows students to visit the oldest fossils in the world, to walk on the Earth’s mantle, and to experience seaside cliffs made of the oldest rocks in the world. Students encounter whales and enormous seabird colonies, windswept barrens populated by caribou, boreal forests, and alpine tundra atop the northernmost Appalachians. The course examines the interactions of humans and the environment over time from the earliest Viking settlements of 1000 CE, through the cod fishing and sealing eras, to the transformations of the island after World War Two. Students also engage the musical cultures and history of Newfoundland to emerge with a complete understanding of this astonishing, beautiful, and rare place.
Destination: Newfoundland, Canada
Course Dates: Summer Semester 2020
Tentative Travel Dates: June 29-July 10, 2020

For more information, contact Prof. Chris Haley (chaley@vwu.edu) or Prof. Dan Margolies (dmargolies@vwu.edu)

2019 Honors Study Away Courses

Amanda Gerni '19 in Haines, Alaska, summer 2016.

HON 200: Environmental and Cultural Sustainability in Alaska
(Haines, Alaska)

Description: This course focuses on the distinctive and dramatic landscape of Southeast Alaska to illustrate the interconnectedness between the major forces that have shaped our planet and how its inhabitants live their lives. It emphasizes the complex relationships that exist throughout the natural world and how they interact to have economic, social, cultural, and philosophical implications.

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Machu Picchu, Peru

HON 200: From the Amazon to the Andes
(Peru)

Description: This course investigates and experiences two adjacent and long-interrelated areas of Peru. We’ll go off the grid for five days into the Amazon jungle, which is perhaps the most biodiverse area on the planet, then go high into the Andes to the heartland of the Incan empire, including a visit to one of the world’s great sights, Machu Picchu. In both places we’ll spend considerable time with indigenous peoples, learning through them a different way to understand not only their but our own world. Prerequisite: Batten Honors College.

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Virginia Wesleyan students in Berlin, Germany, summer 2018. Photograph by Antje Schwennicke.

HON 200: Germany in a Changing World
(Berlin, Germany)

Description: An introduction to German politics over the last 60 years. It relates the historical developments in 20th-century Germany to global and international developments. A special focus is the political historical development of Berlin, which provides the background for different excursions in the city. The course seeks to bring history to life by taking you to historical places that relate German politics to international developments. Movie screenings and guest lectures also facilitate the understanding. As a service project, students engage with Syrian refugees that arrived in Berlin in great numbers over the past two years.

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Virginia Wesleyan students exploring Ek Balam's cenote in Yucatan, Mexico. Photograph by Diana Risk.

HON 200: Societies and Resources from Local Practices to Global Impact
(Mexico)

Description: Combining perspectives based on the sciences and the humanities, this course examines the ways that societies adapt to and transform the natural environment. Beginning in the magnificent ancient cities of Chichen Itza and Ek-Balam, we enter the Mayan world of science and religion. Our course includes a visit to Universidad de Oriente in Valladolid, Yucatán where a specialist in Mayan cosmogony guides us through the study of medicinal plants and the notion of holistic healing. Students have an opportunity to research regional resources in interaction with local people and specialists in order to explore the co-evolutionary process by which man transforms and is transformed by the natural environment.
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2018 Honors Study Away Courses

HON 200: Land of Fire & Ice

HON 200: Land of Fire & Ice
(Iceland)

Description: An investigation of concepts, issues, and ideas relevant to the culture and travel destination(s) that includes engagement in a service or research project that addresses the particular need(s) of that community and involves interaction with representative community members, constituencies and agencies.

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HON 200: Society & Culture of Barcelona

HON 200: Society & Culture of Barcelona
(Spain)

Description: An investigation of concepts, issues, and ideas relevant to the culture and travel destination(s) that includes engagement in a service or research project that addresses the particular need(s) of that community and involves interaction with representative community members, constituencies and agencies. May be repeated for credit as topic and/or destination changes.

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