Interterms from here to there

Story by Jenna Black, Managing Editor

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Interterm is a time between the fall and spring semesters for students to have a few weeks to take an on-campus course, go on a travel interterm course or extend their Christmas break to relax at home. Each Baker student is required to complete at least two Interterm courses though they are welcome to take more than two. This year’s Interterm starts on Jan. 2 and goes through Jan. 18. Travel interterms are a popular option for students and gives them the opportunity to discover new places while earning course credit. Professor of Mass Media Joe Watson encourages everyone to travel abroad at some point in their lives.

“The opportunity to travel just changes your perspective and gives you context on the world that goes so far beyond what you might get in a classroom,” said Watson.

Travel interterms often serve as a launching pad for those who realize that they would like to spend a semester studying abroad, seek out other travel opportunities or pursue an international career. Baker is offering three different travel courses this January to various destinations as well as different on-campus cultural experiences. Associate Professor of Psychology Robyn Long encourages students that did not get the opportunity to travel during their time at Baker to join in on travel interterms even after they have graduated. Long says that traveling can improve your life by expanding your horizons, challenging the assumptions we make, helping your ability to relate to others and making you more hirable in the future.

Visiting Instructor of Spanish Katya Soll is introducing an on-campus Interterm, “Olé: An Introduction to Flamenco Culture, Music and Dance.” Though this course is not an international traveling experience, it allows students to embrace the culture, history and choreography of Spanish culture. The course is still open for students to enroll in and Soll encourages students to join her as they dive into the movements, posture and choreography of Flamenco dance. The class will be split between classroom time and dance workshop. They will learn more about the history of the Flamenco, its place in Spanish culture, how it fits into some of the social and political aspects of Spanish life today and how art and literature have incorporated the form of dance. Soll suggests the students wear heeled shoes to fully embrace the technique. Soll plans to bring in professional musicians from Kansas City along with castanets and fans to complete the cultural experience.

Establishing independence in a foreign country is the goal of Professor of Business & Economics Judy Smrha’s travel interterm course to Spain, “Exploring Spanish Business and Culture.” The group will be traveling to Madrid and Barcelona over the 12-day trip where they will be visiting places such as the Royal Palace and Sagrada Familia. This travel course is more relaxed than most as there are only three students attending. Smrha was able to adjust the itinerary to accommodate for numbers as they will be cooking for themselves most nights and staying in AirBnB apartments. Smrha’s hopes for the trip are that the students will develop problem-solving skills and realize that they can easily travel the world by themselves.

Art, history and culture are some elements that have drawn Watson to offer his interterm trip to Amsterdam for the fourth time. Watson says that the trip sells itself, and he always enjoys going back with students. Highlights from the trip include the Anne Frank Museum, Van Gogh Museum and a tour of the Heineken Brewery. The group even ventures out of Amsterdam to enjoy different locales such as Rotterdam, Delft and The Hague. He makes sure to incorporate a free day into the itinerary to give students the opportunity to explore on their own. He has the group get together before they leave and present research about things they will see and do while in Amsterdam.

Seeing the Northern lights, relaxing at the Blue Lagoon and hiking a glacier are just a few of excursions included in Long’s travel interterm course to Iceland. The 19-person group will be spending the majority of their time in the country’s capital city, Reykjavik. Other activities include riding Icelandic horses and learning how to knit their own trolls and elves. The travel experience will be enriched through the class reading of “Burial Rites” by Hannah Kent. The book discusses the author’s time while studying abroad in Iceland. Long will also be taking a group of students to Australia in June for Interterm course credit where they will be going on an eco-tour of the outback, have a chance to hold koalas and more. This travel course is still open for students to sign up.