A private comprehensive liberal arts college in Salt Lake City, UT, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in liberal arts and professional programs. Website
2014 study experiences

2014 May Term and Summer Study Experiences


Hopi and Navajo Cultures  -

Travel to Northern Arizona and Southern Utah
Estimated Trip Cost:
$800 (+ estimated $35-$200 spending money)
Travel Dates: May 10-18, 2014
Instructors: Cordelia Schaffer, Marilee Coles-Ritchie,  Marsha Morton
Prerequisites: None

This course introduces students to Hopi and Navajo peoples. It includes social, educational, environmental, political, economic, artistic, health and caring aspects of their cultures. Special emphasis will be placed on the practical aspects of health care and observation in the schools. There will be a nine-day field trip designed for students to explore health issues, educational practices, and ecosystems on Hopi and Navajo reservations in northern Arizona and southern Utah. Students will visit Indian Health Services and private health care facilities, schools on reservations, Hopi and possibly Navajo families, museums, and possibly National Park sites. Students will participate in guided field and river trips. Students will also spend one day visiting related sites in Salt Lake City after the nine-day field experience. Students from all majors are welcome with the permission of the instructors. Insufficient enrollment or national or international situations may cause cancellation of this study tour. 

China: Ancient and Modern

Travel to China
Estimated Trip Cost:
$3950 (+ estimated $250 spending money)
Travel Dates: May 5-18, 2014
Instructors:  Brian Jorgensen, Rich Collins
Prerequisites: None

China's economy has seen remarkable growth over the past two decades.  Eventually, it will rival that of the U.S. in size, and China continues to be one of our most important trading partners and creditors.  While China was not as adversely affected by the recent worldwide slowdown as many countries, questions have begun to arise as to whether the country can continue its recent successes in the face of rising wages and pressures from other emerging economics.  This MTSE will explore many facets of this fascinating country.  The first visit will be to Hong Kong, with its fascinating history spanning from ancient Chinese port to British colony to bustling modern metropolis.  We will then travel to Beijing, China's political center and host of the 2008 Summer Olympics.  While in Beijing we will visit the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City.  our next stop bill be in Xi'an, home of the fascinating Terra Cotta Warriors.  Finally, we will visit Shanghai, China's bustling business center.  In each city we will visit business and/or governmental organizations to get an inside understanding of what it takes to successfully do business in or with China.

Irish History, Film, and Language

Travel to Ireland
Estimated Trip Cost:
$2750 (+ estimated $350 spending money)
Travel Dates: May 11-22, 2014
Instructors: Natasha Saje and Georgiana Donavin
Prerequisites: For Latin credit, Latin I and II, otherwise no prerequisites

This course offers the chance to investigate Irish literature and history while traveling through Dublin, Cork, and Galway. While in Galway, we will attend a poetry slam by John Walsh and visit Coole Park and the Aran Islands. In Dublin, students will go out for literary walks, meet with authors, and visit the Writer’s Center and other historical landmarks, including Christ Church, Trinity College, and Kilmainham Gaol. Students will be expected to reflect on how visiting Irish sites and meeting writers influences interpretations of readings.  Those students taking Latin will have the opportunity to translate transcriptions on the monuments they explore and share their knowledge of early Latin textual foundations for early Irish literature and culture. Film students will critique films and write scenes, while creative writing students will write imitations and dramatic monologues. Readings from the era of the 1916 uprising will encourage students to think post-colonially and to question relationships between world powers and oppressed peoples today.


Norway and Sweden: A real world gender utopia?

Travel to Norway and Sweden
Estimated Trip Cost:
$3346 (+ estimated $700-$1000 for some meals and spending money)
Travel Dates: May 14-28, 2014
Instructors: Kristjane Nordmeyer, Trisha Teig, Naomi Marine
Prerequisites: None

This course is designed to expose students to issues of gender equality from a cross-cultural and historical perspective. Students will meet women leaders in both Norway and Sweden who are working on issues central to women’s lives in the areas of politics, higher education, and the non-profit and corporate worlds.
These are important comparisons to make because women in Scandinavian countries have greater political representation, better childcare and family (or parental leave) policies, greater opportunities for leadership advancement in their given fields and universal health care. In quality of life indicators and overall access to positions of power, women in Scandinavian countries consistently come out on top.  So what accounts for these differences?


India: Science Education & Service Learning (Summer 2014) -

Late enrollment is possible -- contact the faculty leaders for information.

Travel to India
Estimated Trip Cost:
Travel Dates: July 29-August 12
On-Campus Meeting Dates: July 7, 8, 9, 14, 16, 4:00 - 6:50; August 18 4:00 - 6:00
Instructors: Frank Black, Carolyn Jenkins, Jan Saeed
Prerequisites: None

India, Science Education and Service Learning is a Summer International Service Learning (SISL) course that includes on-campus classes and an intensive service-learning project in Wai, India. Westminster has been traveling to Wai since 2009 and has developed a strong partnership with several primary and secondary schools in Wai and the surrounding area. This partnership has also extended to a school for students with disabilities in Wai. For this course, Westminster students will develop activities related to hands-on inquiry-oriented science learning. The target audience for the service-learning project will be primary and secondary students and students with special needs. The project will be developed in collaboration with the teachers in Wai and surrounding area and implemented in these same schools.  Westminster students will prepare for the project during the summer of 2014 with a preparatory class The activities for the service-learning projects will be developed in the preparatory class with input from the partnering teachers in Wai. All projects will have application to the lives of the students in India. For example, a project may study through inquiry methodology the chemical and biological factors found in the water of the Krishna River, a river that runs through Wai. Along side the study of the scientific aspects of the Krishna River, would be discussions of culture and traditions surrounding the sacred river and how they might be at odds with environmental concerns. The class will then bring these projects, including all of the materials to India. The Westminster students will help implement the projects in the classrooms. Click here for more information.


Service Learning in Colombia:  Perspectives on Culture, Global Health, and Spanish  

Travel to Colombia
Estimated Trip Cost:
Travel Dates: May 7-26, 2014
Instructors: Deyanira Ariza-Velasco, Carol Jeffers, Mark Ferne
Prerequisites: Open to undergraduates who have completed either one semester of the nursing or public health program, or one Spanish language course.  Graduate students, alumni and other guests may also apply but current Westminster undergraduates will receive priority. 

This course provides a cultural immersion and service-learning opportunity to explore health needs of rural and urban populations as they work alongside local health care providers and foundations while incorporating public health/medical/cultural Spanish vocabulary. Students will gain an understanding of the region's health care needs as well as an introduction to components of community assessment. Students will also explore traditional medical and folk practices in an effort to understand beliefs about health,  healing, and healthy and sustainable relationships with the environment. Students will travel though Bogotá, along the mountainous terrain of the Andes through cloud forests, coffee and plantain plantations, “páramos” (all high, tropical, mountain vegetation above the continuous timberline) and villages to Villa de Leyva (designated a UNESCO World Heritage site) to Armenia and to Bucaramanga where the landscape is stark, barren and dramatic. Finally, the group will visit the Caribbean in Cartagena de Indias and enjoy the natural scenery. It will be possible to snorkel near coral reefs, see the various  species of the Caribbean, listen to tropical music while serving and projecting the public health program. Students will also participate in a home stay with the local population in Bucaramanga and in rural/urban hotels in order to be exposed to agriculture, conservation, cooking local food, and immersion in the culture of the local residents.   Itinerary is subject to change based on U.S. State Department travel recommendations for Colombia.


The Lessons of Nazi Science

Travel to Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Italy
Estimated Trip Cost:
$3500-$3970 depending on enrollment (+ estimated $700-$900 spending money)
Travel Dates: May 6-27, 2014
Instructors: Giancarlo Panagia, Russ Costa, Chris Cline, Amy Fairchild
Prerequisites: None 

The class will include a trip from Prague, Czech Republic through Southeastern Poland, Austria, and into northern Italy, visiting important sites of Nazi human/biomedical and physical science programs. The cultural politics, ethics, and societal implications of these research programs will constitute a major organizing theme for the course.  This class will include readings, discussions, and site visits focused on the impact of war on science and the impact of science on war, particularly in Nazi Europe during WWII. Several key discussions will be organized after site visits for students to recollect and share their personal experiences with group members. Coverage will be devoted to the development of the Wunderwaffe (the "wonder-weapon") and Kriegsentscheidend (“crucial for the outcome of a war”), the nature of crimes against humanity, the ethics of research on human beings, tensions between “pure”/theoretical science and applied science during wartime, the Nazi organizational/institutional goals of de-individuation and dehumanization of “the other,” and the regime’s delegitimization of “Jewish Physics.” The broad ethical implications of this era for the current practice of science will also be explored, including discussions of the moral responsibility of scientists pursuing atomic energy or of those conducting research on human beings. The class will conclude in Bergamo where students will write on the ethical implications of United States of America v Karl Brandt, et al., or “The Doctor’s Trial.”


Service Learning in Thailand

Travel to Thailand
Estimated Trip Cost:
$4300 (+ estimated $100-$500 spending money)
Travel Dates:
May 2-26, 2014

Instructors: Han Kim, Peter Ingle

Prerequisites: None

The focus of this course will be to explore concepts in global citizenship and responsibility in the 21st century by understanding the educational, health and developmental needs of rural Thai citizens as well as indigenous populations through cultural immersion and active participation in service projects designed to provide benefits to the local peoples. Students will participate in service projects in two distinct rural Thai villages, one near the Burmese border in Mae Sot, and one in the rural Northeast near Khon Kaen, that will help alleviate some of the health, educational and developmental issues present, while staying with local families within the villages. Other activities will include tours of historically significant sites in Thailand, sightseeing in Bangkok as well as spending a day with Burmese refugee children at a refugee school and visiting an HIV/AIDS hospice. Students will meet during Spring Semester for preparatory sessions that will ready them for the experience. Course assignments will include reflective journaling, active discussions during the trip, and an online reflective multimedia project at the end of the trip. Click here for more information.

Misperceptions of Cuba

Travel to Cuba
Estimated Trip Cost:
Travel Dates: May 13-28, 2014
Instructors: Christine Stracey, Frank Black
Prerequisites: Due to travel restrictions for U.S. Citizens in Cuba, only current degree-seeking Westminster undergraduates may participate in this MTSE and they must be taking the MTSE for credit.

Since the Cuban revolution ended in 1959, the US embargo of Cuba began in 1960, and the US backed Bay of Pigs invasion failed in 1961, Cuba has held a unique place both in the Western Hemisphere and in the American psyche. For many Americans this has resulted in the formation of a myriad of perceptions and misconceptions about Cuba, which in many cases are based on very little information or fact. This May Term Study Experience will provide students with a firsthand opportunity to evaluate their own perceptions of Cuba and confront their misconceptions of this Caribbean island nation through the lenses of environmental science, environmental policy, politico-economics, music, dance, and culture. Students will explore themes such as how the US embargo and the collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in Cuba becoming a world leader in organic farming. During a visit to an organic farming collective, science will be paired with the political and economic reasons for this transition, with students learning about how organic farming and mechanized farming with fertilizers and pesticides differ in their impacts on soil chemistry and biology. Other themes will include the Cuban health care system, Cuba’s numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, and Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, and the other charismatic leaders of the Cuban Revolution. We will also explore how Cuba’s history has influenced its approach to environmental policy and conservation, then see the results of these efforts first hand when we visit land and marine national parks. Students will get to exchange world views with average Cubans, and compare this to impressions gained from our meetings with Cuban academics and artists in Havana. Students will also be immersed in the famous music and dance of Cuba, with multiple half- day Salsa and Rumba classes and opportunities for students to apply their new found skills under real world settings in Jazz and Salsa clubs.  Visit the Cuba MTSE Blog for more information.