Mercyhurst Magazine Spring 2014

Globetrotting students enjoy first J-term By Allison Seib

There was a lot going on during the university’s inaugural J-term session in January. The switch from trimesters to semesters opened the door for a three-week accelerated term. It wasn’t just Erie’s campus that was lively with students enrolled in courses both old and new — four faculty-led excursions sent dozens of students around the world where they experienced life beyond Mercyhurst’s gates. GUYANA Spending 11 days in Georgetown, the capital and largest city in Guyana, allowed Dr. Laura Lewis’ group of 10 students to learn more about social welfare outside the United States, specifcally the injustices of the political and socioeconomic system, as well as the challenges the Third World country in South America faces due to a lack of available resources. Mornings were spent listening to speakers who helped the group better understand Guyana, its people and its culture, while afternoons were spent volunteering at several organizations. Students engaged with children at the Bosco Boys Orphanage, the local Mercy Hospital, Sisters of Charity Daycare, a nursing home and a school for students who were deaf or had other disabilities. One highlight of the “Guyana Experience” was the opportunity to converse with their Amerindian tour guides as they kayaked down a tributary in the Amazon Rainforest.

IRELAND Yet another Mercyhurst group journeyed across the Atlantic to Ireland during J-term. While the 18 students led by English professor Dr. Heidi Hosey spent some time at Mercyhurst’s Irish base in Dungarvan, the trip revolved around the study of Irish mythology and its indigenous and Celtic roots. Students spent three days on campus reading several Irish narratives before spending more than a week roaming across four of the fve mythological regions in Ireland (Lenster, Mide, Munster and Connacht). The adventure also took the group to several Neolithic sites, including Newgrange in the east and Poulnebrone Dolamn in the west. They also visited several “Age of Kings” battlement sites and castles, all the while immersing themselves in Ireland’s rich history and culture.


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