By CAMERON BOLTON
Far from home, many Drake students left the country for their first time this January on a January Term, a three-week long course they could take to gain experience in a particular field before sSpring term started.
OneA Drake student who opted to do a travel J-term this year was senior Anna Jensen, a double major in News and Public Relations. The class she took was history of theatre in London, which was also both her first J-term and the first time she left the country. The students in this class were taught about the origins of theatre in places like Rome and how it might be different from other areas. They learned about staging, costumes, and the genre of plays performed.
“We went to London and saw performances, went to museums and then we had a few lecture days in London, but the majority of it was hands- on learning,” Jensen said.. “Like obviously we were in London, we’re going to do things, we’re not going to sit in a classroom and lecture too much.”,” Jensen said.
A large part of why they went to London, according to Jensen, was to learn about Shakespeare. Jensen said that while they learned about other playwrights, Shakespeare was the main one focused on for the class. While in London, the class also attended three Shakespeare shows. There was Macbeth, which was performed in the Globe Theatre,; Timon of Athens, which they saw when they attended Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace,; and they also saw Antony and Cleopatra, where the main actor was Ralph Fiennes.
“It was really cool to see him do Shakespeare and then have also seen him play this crazy villain in a series (Harry Potter as Voldemort) that’s so important to London,” Jensen said.
As a non-theatre major, as opposed to the majority of the class, Jensen said that the main thing she got out of the class was being able to become fully immersed into theatre. She said it was both fun and educational.
Another student who choose to take a J-Term course over three extra weeks of winter break was junior Sophia Siegel, an environmental sustainability major. The class she took, Aapocalyptic America in Ffilm and Cculture, was at Drake. There the students were taught about the ways the apocalypse is presented in modern culture, with the causes ranging from the climate to zombies to technology. The reason Siegel took the class was to fulfill her AOI history requirement, but also because she said the class sounded interesting.
“We explored a range of topics,” Siegel said. “Like how politics impacts people’s view on the end of the world and how religion and various aspects impact how people view an end of the world situation or scenario. We got to watch a bunch of different movies and stuff. That was fun.”
Siegel said that the main thing she got out of the class was a better understanding of how different media conveys social anxiety about the end of the world and the things that are going on.
Siegel also did a travel J-term last year, which she describes as being a completely different experience than being on campus. She went to Rwanda to learn about ecotourism and development, in what Siegel described as a more immersive experience.
Siegel also recommended that if you aren’t going to study abroad a semester, then you should do a travel J-term. She stated that one can learn a lot just by going somewhere and experiencing a different culture. Though Siegel also thought that there’s a lot of good J-terms at Drake, try to take something that sounds interesting or fun that you wouldn’t normally take, because usually it’s a lot less of a workload.
In addition, if a student is going abroad, Jensen would say that students should do research in order to avoid any culture shock and to find out where you might want to go if you ever get any free time.