Thirty-Eight Students Study Abroad During Spring Break

Thirty-eight students traveled abroad during Augustana’s spring break March 12-21. There were four separate courses offered in Guatemala, Greece, France, and Scotland.

While traveling, students are asked to complete homework assignments, papers, site reports or research projects on the places they visit. Ten days is a short amount of time for a course, but spring break is one of the few times during the school year when nearly all students have the opportunity to travel abroad. Spring break courses allow students to take a course either within our outside of their major and to travel and have fun while learning with one or more of our great professors.

The thirty-eight students participated in these four spring break courses:

“Fair Trade, Poverty and You: Sharing the Dream in Guatemala”

Faculty leaders: Cory Conover & Stephen Minister

"What is fair trade? How does it affect the lives of artisans and farmers in low-income countries? What impact do your purchasing decisions have on poor communities around the world? What does it meant to be an ethically responsible citizen and consumer in a globalized world? We'll be exploring these questions through a week-long study trip to Guatemala where we'll visit fair trade cooperatives, help out with organizations engaged in community development, and do homestays with Guatemalan families. We'll encounter first-hand the challenges faced by poor communities, recognize the ways our lives and actions impact others throughout the world, and reflect on the meaning of ethical responsibility in an international context."

"Tracing the Roots of Western Civilization: History and Philosophy in Classical Greece”

Faculty leaders: David O'Hara & Rocki Wentzell

Distinguished Scholars Travel Experience. Students are selected to take part in this experience as part of their successful participation in the Distinguished Scholars Competition as high school seniors. This very talented cohort then travels abroad together during spring break of their freshman year at Augustana.

Western civilization owes an enormous debt to developments in humane sciences around the Golden Age of Athens (478-404 BC). Democracy, political science, medicine, natural philosophy, tragedy and comedy all find significant roots in ancient Greece. Knowledge of the history of our civilization is fundamental to a liberal arts education and a first-hand experience in Athens, Delphi, and elsewhere in Greece - the cradle of Western Civilization, should prove a lasting learning experience.

The aim of this course is to bring students into direct contact with a major strain of their intellectual and cultural heritage by travel to Greece and by visiting sites of historical significance. Each student will prepare for the trip by learning the rudiments of both ancient and Modern Greek language, and by researching one pre-assigned site. These will provide points of contact with both modern and ancient Greece as we visit museums, historical sites, and the Greek countryside. Over the course of the week, students shall:

  • Gain first-hand familiarity with the history and culture of Classical Greece
  • Learn about the context for golden age of Greek philosophy and intellectualism
  • Begin to understand the spread of Hellenism after the Golden Age of Athens
  • Develop an understanding of the encounter between Jewish Christianity and Hellenic paganism
  • Encounter Greek tragedy and comedy in its natural environment
  • Acquire a more implicit sense of Mediterranean culture
  • Come to understand modern Greece and its geographic significance
  • Reflect and articulate the meaning of history, its ownership, and legacies

“Artistic History of Paris”

Faculty leader: Scott Fish
Follow the France spring break course through their online blog.

"Between 200 and 250 BC, Gauls of the Parisii tribe settled and established a small fishing village on a small island in the Seine River, the Ile de la Cite. Later conquered by Julius Caesar in 52 A.D., the Roman city of Lutece was finally renamed Paris in 212 A.D. La Ville lumiere, Paris, has witnessed over 2,00 years artistic and intellectual history and achievements. This one-credit spring break course is designed to expose intermediate- and advanced level students to snapshots of some of the Parisian sites, monuments, structures, and artistic treasures from antiquity to the early twenty-first century that have contributed to the historical development and artistic renown of la plus belle ville du monde. Students will further conduct pre-departure and on-site individual research projects on one Parisian monument or landmark, and submit a paper and provide a public presentation of their research."

“Scotland's Stories and Scenes”

Faculty leaders: Sandra Looney & Simon Ferrell

The nature of this course will be to investigate how Scotland's crafting tradition, literary landscape, and place in the United Kingdom influence the Scottish identity and national consciousness. We will study how the past literary lights of Scotland, especially Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and Robert Lewis Stevenson, illuminate both Edinburgh as a city and the present literary landscape; furthermore, we will examine how contemporary Scottish writers cultivate a thriving literary landscape of their own, independent from past tradition. Throughout our trip, we will travel to Inverness, Portree on the Isle of Skye, Glasgow, and Edinburgh.

Currently, about half of Augustana students have been abroad by the time they graduate. Augustana believes that international and intercultural experience is essential to a quality liberal arts education, as well as success after graduation in a world that is more interconnected everyday. Spring break courses allow students to get a brief taste of international study, inspiring them to consider longer experiences abroad during or after college.

For more information about study-abroad opportunities at Augustana College, visit the Office of International and Off-Campus Programs.


Donn Grinager
Director of International Programs
donn.grinager@augie.edu