Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Unique Experience for all students

anuary Interim Experience, or J-Term as it is known to many Gusties past and present, has been in existence at Gustavus Adolphus College since the early 1960s. The mission of January Interim Experience is to provide ways for students and faculty to take advantage of the term’s unique qualities by developing courses and other learning opportunities that enrich and expand upon the College’s regular semester curricular offerings.Here is a sampling of how Gustavus students are spending their time during the month of January:

Study-Abroad Courses

More than 250 Gustavus students are studying abroad during this year’s January Interim Experience in places like Australia, China, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Peru, Sweden, Tanzania, and others.Associate Professor of Health and Exercise Science Aaron Banks and a group of students are traveling to China and England as part of a travel course titled “Understanding Sport and Leisure in England and China.Using a global, issues-oriented approach, students are studying sports, leisure, and the Olympics, and their relationship to society and culture in the two nations.Associate Professor of Biology Jon Grinnell is teaching a course titled Children of Hope: Health Care and Education in Guatemala,designed to introduce students to the challenges our neighbors in the Two-Thirds World face as they seek to meet the health care and education needs of their children. After spending one week on campus, Grinnell and students are spending the final three weeks of January in Guatemala where they will visit hospitals, clinics, and schools; talk with teachers, literacy workers, and health care providers, as well as with representatives of churches, unions, cooperatives, and governmental and nongovernmental organizations engaged in education and public and community health care projects.

Assistant Professor of Scandinavian Studies Helena Karlsson is leading a group of students to Europe for a class titled Stockholm & Berlin: The Northern European Metropolis.With a focus on class and ethnic diversity, students are exploring the two cities and their histories through texts, articles, films, and the social/cultural life of the cities.

On-Campus Courses

Students who choose to stay on-campus during January Interim Experience always have an interesting assortment of courses to select from.Two unique courses offered by the Mathematics and Computer Science Department are collaborating on a final project during January. Students in Guarionex Salivia’s “What Makes Games Fun?” course are studying the concepts of video game design and the theory of fun in games in an attempt to make a solid theoretical and practical link that will lead to the design of a video game. Students in Choong-Soo Lee’s “iPhone Development course are covering the fundamentals of program design using the Object C programming language for developing iPhone applications. Students from the two courses will collaborate to develop a video game of their own as a final project.

Students in Assistant Professor of Religion Sarah Ruble’s class “Religious Lives,” are exploring how people of faith, particularly Jews, Muslim, and Christians, practice their religious traditions as well as how they eat, date, deal with conflict, and handle loss. The class is also attending several religious services as part of the course.Students in Assistant Professor of Nursing Heidi Meyer’s class “Parenting in the 21st Century,” are studying and discussing a number of parenting topics including pregnancy, parent-infant attachment, historical and current parenting roles and issues, the role of fatherhood, sexual orientation and parenting, cultural variations in parenting styles, and the influence of technology on parenting.


Many Gustavus students take advantage of January Interim Experience by gaining valuable career experience through a month-long internship. 119 Gustavus students have registered for academic credit for their Interim Career Exploration this January.Interesting internships being performed by Gustavus students this January include:

United Nations internship in Budapest, Hungary
16 pre-health students doing internships at Mayo Clinic, Mankato Clinic, and River’s Edge Hospital and Clinic.
Finance internship at Buffalo Wild Wings
Center for Victims of Torture internship in St. Paul

Independent Study and Research

Approximately 30 Gustavus students are spending January conducting research or an independent study. This is especially common in the sciences in departments such as biology, chemistry, and physics.

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