May Experience 2014 Faculty Led Programs

  • Botswana Paradox
  • Communication, Culture & Identity in New Zealand
  • English Explorations: The New Woman Imperiled (England)
  • Farm (Iowa)
  • Garden, Temple, and Dojo: Embracing Japanese Arts and Culture
  • Geology, Ecology, and Mineral Resources of the Rocky Mountains
  • Indian Country: Indigenous Culture & Religion in the Southwest, US
  • Language & Identity in Spain
  • Math & the Mouse: Explorations of Mathematics & Science in Walt Disney World
  • Religious Studies in Turkey
  • Rhetoric of Social Activism / May-by-the-Bay (San Francisco, CA)
  • Slow Food: Italian Style
  • Tropical Ecology in Costa Rica
  • War & Remembrance: WW I and the Western Front (Belgium, England, France)

Descriptions for each of these programs can be found below. Applications will be accepted for most May Ex programs beginning November 4, 2013.

Faculty Directors: Dr. Liz Bouzarth, Dr. John Harris, and Dr. Kevin Hutson (Mathematics)
Faculty and students will explore the mathematics and science behind Walt Disney World.  Students will immerse themselves in different aspects of the operations of Walt Disney World to explore various real-world applications of mathematical sciences.  The course will include prepared course material, but the majority of the experience will be exploration based and student driven.

Faculty Directors: Dr. William Ranson and Dr. John Garihan (Earth & Environmental Science)
Want to experience boiling mud, spouting geysers, beautiful vistas, camping under the stars, and mountains rising 6,000 feet from the plains?  If yes, then plan to join Drs. Garihan, Ranson, and Muthukrishnan on a multi-disciplinary field study of the Rocky Mountains focusing on Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. We will be flying to Rapid City, renting vehicles, and visiting South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana, states whose economy revolves around considerable mineral wealth. You will be exposed to aspects of the origin, exploration, and exploitation of these resources, with all the environmental consequences. Moreover, as a younger, more active, better-exposed mountain system than the Appalachians, you can directly observe the effects of active tectonics, earthquake activity, past and present volcanism, and geothermal activity in the middle Rocky Mountains. The trip will also feature multiple day hikes in the national parks for an up-close look at the geology, flora, and wildlife! 

Faculty Directors: Dr. Allison L. Hurst (Sociology) and Dr. Gretchen Braun (English)
Do you like to read novels?  Would you like to read them where they take place?  In this May Semester course, you will have the opportunity to read George Gissing’s The Odd Women while exploring the British Library and Museums in London, read Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles while hiking through the English countryside in Dorsetshire, and read Bram Stoker’s Dracula in Whitby, where the vampire comes to shore.  Each of these three fin de siècle novels responds to the emergence of “the New Woman” – the product of shifting cultural standards and socio-legal changes in British society.  In addition to reading the novels, we will study these momentous social changes, eventually broadening our understanding and deepening our appreciation for these three interesting and influential works of fiction.

Faculty Directors: Dr. Mark Amengual and Dr. Stephanie Knouse (Modern Languages & Literatures)
Contrary to preconceived notions of Spanish culture, Spain is much more than ‘flamenco’, ‘bullfighting’ and ‘sangría’. The goal of this program is to expose students to the variety of languages and cultures that contribute to the formation of regional and national identities in modern Spain. We will visit monolingual and bilingual communities such as Madrid, Galicia, the Basque Country, and Catalonia. Students will interact with locals and participate in regional cultural activities (i.e., food, music, local festivals) to experience first-hand the many different sides of Spain. Topics of the course will include: regional vs. national identity, political and social history of Spain, language and power, languages in contact, language educational policy, and language attitudes. As we are taking an interdisciplinary approach to this program, students from any major are encouraged to apply. The course will be instructed in English; however, students will use Spanish to carry out various class activities.

Faculty Directors: Dr. Helen Lee Turner (Religion) and Dr. Brian Siegel (Religion and Anthropology)
Traveling within the borders of the continental US, this May Experience will take students into four Indian nations that are as different as anything seen overseas—including places 60 miles away from any fast food restaurants.  Students will be among a small number of non-Indians who will attend traditional Hopi religious dances and talk with tribal elders.   By the light of a full moon and with a Navajo guide, travelers will see the side of Monument Valley not recorded in the famous westerns filmed there.  An eerie boat ride on Lake Powell through what should be a desert ends at Rainbow Arch, a sacred Navajo rock formation. In Chaco Canyon, under a very dark night sky, we will experience what ancient astronomers used to inform the people’s religious worldview.  These and other adventures along with urban experiences and museum visits in Phoenix, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe make for a full trip.

Faculty Directors: Dr. Carolyn Day (History) & Dr. Marian Strobel (History)
The Great War (1914-1918) changed the face of Europe and laid the foundations for many of today’s political conflicts and this May Ex study abroad course will be centered on War and remembrance on the Western Front. This course will provide an investigation of the way in which a nation constructs its own narrative, and will assess the tone of the centenary commemorations of World War I which has become a hot button issue between the former combatants (in particular Germany and Great Britain).  On this travel program, students will study the relationship between historical events and the representations of these events through visits to significant museums and historic sites in England, France, and Belgium.  There will be an emphasis on concepts of commemoration and on placing World War I in a comparative context.

Faculty Directors: Dr.  Mark Stone and Dr. Eiho Baba (Philosophy)
Japanese gardens, Zen Buddhist temples, and colorful Shinto shrines express a cultural philosophy that connects aesthetics with ethics, beauty with practice. This program provides a unique opportunity to explore and embrace the connections between Japanese arts and self-development through experiences and travel to Tokyo, Utsunomiya, Nikko, Kamakura, Kyoto, and Nara. After visiting Tokyo, spend time at an internationally recognized dojo learning and practicing Aikido, a martial art that encourages personal well-being and harmony in daily life. Learn to meditate and to use Kiatsu to promote health. Participate in Japanese tea ceremony and experiment with the basic elements of calligraphy. Try your hand a Japanese pottery and take a class in Ikebana, flower arranging. The program concludes with a week of travel to Kamakura, Kyoto, and Nara to visit places of religious, cultural, and philosophical significance.

APPLY NOW (Application Deadline: September 30, 2013)
Faculty Directors: Dr. Joe Pollard (Biology) and Dr. John Quinn (Biology)
This program allows students to gain an understanding of the myriad biological interactions between organisms and their environments in tropical ecosystems.  Tropical forests possess the greatest biodiversity of any terrestrial biomes on our planet.  They are also the earth’s main engines for photosynthesis, releasing oxygen, consuming carbon dioxide, and trapping solar energy.  They remain poorly understood by science, containing vast numbers of species that have never been named, much less studied.  Many of these species may have utilitarian value to society, such as new foods or medicines.  Yet tropical forests are disappearing at a frightening pace, with accompanying extinction of species, through deforestation motivated by demand for timber and agricultural land.  We will spend three weeks in the spectacular tropical forests of Costa Rica, becoming intimately familiar with their plants, animals, and ecology.  In the words of a former student, “It’s like walking through the pages of National Geographic.”

Faculty Directors: Dr. Kristy Maher (Sociology) and Dr. Min-Ken Liao (Biology)
This program involves a study away in Botswana which will explore the issue of the “Botswana Paradox”. The “Botswana Paradox” refers to the fact that the Botswana government has mounted one of Africa's most comprehensive programs of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care, yet it has the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world. We will explore the possible reasons for this paradox by visiting several agencies and organizations working to ameliorate the crisis (e.g. Baylor University’s program at Princess Marina Hospital working with HIV+ teens, BONELA – an AIDS Activism organization representing Botswana Civil Society, BOTUSA – Center for Disease Control, US Embassy). A few days will be spent on campus before and after two weeks of travel in Botswana. While in Botswana we will be camping the entire time spending one week in the capital, Gaborone, and one week on safari in the bush.

Faculty Directors: Dr. Claude Stulting and Dr. Tim Wardle (Religion)
On this travel program, students will study the relationship between art and religion through visits to Byzantine (Eastern Christian) and Islamic sites in Turkey. There will be an emphasis on 1) the architecture of churches and mosques; and 2) religious paintings called icons that are an essential feature of Eastern Christian churches. The course will highlight how aesthetic expressions embody and convey religious meaning and practice.  In the course of our travels, we will also visit several New Testament and early Christian sites and consider their importance to the spread of the early Christian movement in the Mediterranean world.

Faculty Directors: Dr. Bill Allen and Dr. Ron Friis (Modern Languages & Literatures)
Slow Food Italy proposes to engage students in an extended, in-depth discussion about ways to promote and maintain healthy, environmentally responsible food production, procurement and preparation in modern society.  Readings will motivate discussion on current problems posed      by industrial food production; solutions will be considered through the examples offered by traditional foodways as observed and experienced on an organic farm in Italy, where students will be in residence.  Activities may include working in the farm’s gardens, watching fresh cheese being made, hunting for truffles and other wild foods, visiting an organic winery, and preparing handmade pasta and other foods.  Short stays in Rome at the beginning and end of the program will give insights into Italians’ attitudes about eating and provide the experience of shopping for fresh foods in urban markets.

RHETORIC OF SOCIAL ACTIVISM/MAY-BY-THE-BAY - San Francisco Bay Area/Northern California
Faculty Director: Dr. Sean O’Rourke (Communication Studies)
In this experience students will explore the rhetoric of social activism, primarily in the Bay Area of California. Students will learn about the Civil Rights, Free Speech, Anti-War, Black Panther, Women’s Rights, Gay Rights, and Environmental movements by studying primary texts, interviewing prominent activists and scholars, and producing new research on social movements. We will spend time on the Stanford, UC Berkeley, University of San Francisco, and Humboldt State campuses and will meet with activists and scholars at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research and the Martin Luther King (Stanford), the HK Yuen Archive and the Social Activism Sound Recording Project (Berkeley), the Bay Area Civil Rights Movement Veterans (USF), and the Green Party (HSU). Our primary concern will be to study the imbrication of scholarship and activism in the area of social activist rhetoric.

Faculty Directors: Dr. George Lipscomb (Education) and Dr. John Armstrong (Communication Studies)
Students will spend 17 days travelling to major cities such as Auckland, Wellington, and Dunedin and to cultural sites on both the North and South Islands of New Zealand.  They will gain firsthand knowledge of New Zealand’s media and cultural institutions, and the people who work in them. There will be presentations from prominent scholars in the study of media, diversity, and identity in New Zealand. Students will also experience the natural beauty of New Zealand, with visits to Milford Sound (including a boat trip on the Sound), the alpine resort city of Queenstown, the Waitomo Ruakuri Cave (known for its glow worms), and the thermal vents and geysers at Rotorua.

FARM – Radcliffe, Iowa
Faculty Director: Dr. Glen A. Halva-Neubauer (Political Science)
After many years in which agricultural interest groups crafted agricultural policy with few contenders, grass-roots citizens are advocating for changes in US agriculture policy on environmental, animal welfare, and public health fronts.  The new actors in agricultural policy advocate for sustainable agriculture and argue for policies that favor local, organic foods.   Added to the mix are questions about farm subsidies, ethanol, and crop insurance.  This debate between sustainable and commodity agriculture has put the American farm at the center of a growing political controversy.  Farm brings students to Iowa, the leading corn, soy, egg, and hog producer in the nation.  The state also is home to a strong network of sustainable agriculture groups.  During Farm, students will speak to farmers employing a wide variety of agricultural practices.   If you are concerned about the future of food, there are few places better to learn about it than in Iowa.

Summer 2014 Faculty Led Programs


APPLY NOW (Application Deadline: November 1, 2013)
Faculty Directors: Dr. David Fleming (Political Science)
You'll study political, civic, and cultural aspects of the American political system while living in Washington, DC. The center-piece of the program is an internship arranged for the student by The Washington Center. Internships are tailored to the student's interests and may include work on Capitol Hill, a government agency, an interest group, a law office, or one of a myriad other institutions. The remainder of the week is spent in a weekly seminar or conducting political science fieldwork.

Fall 2014 Semester Faculty Led Programs

  • Brussels Internship Program
  • Fall in China
  • Fall Semester in Spain
  • Fall Semester in Versailles, France
  • Fall Term in the British Isles
  • Music in Italy (Apply Now)
Descriptions for each of these programs can be found below. Applications will be accepted for most programs beginning November 4. To apply for the Music in Italy program, use the link in the program description below.

Faculty Directors: Dr. Diane Vecchio (History)
Brussels, Belgium is a prime location for Furman students to experience politics and policy making through academically rigorous internships. Students work part-time (20-25 hours) in the institutions of the European Union or organizations associated with the EU. They receive credit for the internship course and a travel-study course taught by the Furman director. They also take two courses at Vesalius College.

FALL IN CHINA – Suzhou, People’s Republic of China
Faculty Directors: Dr. Dongming Zhang (Modern Languages & Literatures/ Asian Studies)
This is a faculty-led semester study away program in China. During the program, students will be on the guided trips to explore various sites that have shaped China’s ancient and recent history, including: Minority China (Tibet), modernized China (Shanghai), ancient and contemporary capitals (Xi’an and Beijing), and Taiwan. The host city of the program is Suzhou, 25 minutes to Shanghai by train. Praised as "Venice of China," Suzhou has over 2,500 years of rich history and abundant relics of the past. Suzhou is also one of the most prosperous cities in contemporary China. Local excursions will be arranged to discover the mixture of China’s tradition and modernization in and around Suzhou. The Program will offer small Chinese language courses at all levels as well as content courses on Chinese literature, film, economy, and society.

Faculty Directors: Dr. Stephanie Knouse, Dr. Lourdes Manyé, and Dr. Mark Amengual (Modern Languages & Literatures)
The study abroad program in Spain consists of a total immersion in Spanish culture and language for three months in the center of a thriving European city, Madrid. Students take courses in the Universidad Antonio de Nebrija with Spanish professors, and live with a host family. Even though the center of the program is in Madrid, there are short and long trips to different cities all around Spain that are connected to the content of their culture and civilization class. You'll also attend theater plays and visit the most important museums in Madrid with weekly art classes in the Prado Museum.

Faculty Directors: Dr. Bill Allen and Dr. Cherie Maiden (Modern Languages & Literatures)
The Furman Fall in Versailles program has been in existence for over three decades. Students study in Versailles, France, one of the most historically significant sites in Europe. Advanced French language students engage in intensive study of the country’s history, culture, society and language. This program incorporates weekly visits to relevant local sites, group excursions throughout the country, and residence with a host family.
Faculty Directors: Dr. Jeanne Provost (English), Prof. Margaret Caterisano (Theatre)
This semester long program includes a tour of important literary and cultural sites in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales and England as well as a 10-15 day residence at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and a 10-15 day residence in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace. Here, students study with renowned scholars from the Shakespeare Institute and attend performances at the famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Backstage tours and classes with leading actors and their personnel from the Royal Shakespeare Company provide memorable learning experiences. The high point of the trip for many, however, is the six or more weeks students spend in London, immersing themselves in the life of the city and studying English literature, history, politics, and culture under the supervision of Furman Faculty and visiting scholars from Birkbeck College, University of London. Attendance at theatrical productions staged by the Royal National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, and other world-class venues are a major component of residence in London. Other organized activities may include visits to sites such as Westminister Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. Students are also encouraged to seek their own individual cultural experiences by visiting London’s abundant galleries, museums, and historical sites.

MUSIC IN ITALY – Arezzo, Italy
APPLY NOW (Application Deadline: November 5, 2013)
Faculty Directors: Dr. William Thomas and Dr. Laura Kennedy (Music)

2014 marks the ninth consecutive year for the Furman Music Department's highly successful study away program, "Music in Italy." Each fall twelve to fourteen students, accompanied by Furman faculty members, take up a semester-long residence in Arezzo, Italy. They are taught both by Furman and Italian teachers in courses that include Conducting, Music History, Italian Art and Culture, and Italian language. A four-day Tuscan art study – day trips that focus on the region's rich visual and architectural arts traditions – is led by Furman Art Professor, Robert Chance. One-on-one studio instruction is the central component of the program. Participants work closely with accomplished Italian artist/teachers who help prepare them for performances that take place in a variety of configurations and venues. Participation in the program is open to music majors in all degree programs and to non-majors with significant musical backgrounds.

Spring 2015 Semester Faculty Led Programs

  • Edinburgh Internship Program
  • Marine Biology & Ethnobiology of Belize
  • Religion, Art, & History in the Eastern Mediterranean
  • Southern Africa
  • Washington Experience
Descriptions for each of these programs can be found below. Applications will be accepted for these programs beginning November 4, 2013.

Faculty Director: Dr. Jeffrey Yankow (Economics)
The Edinburgh Study Away program offers students a semester long academic and internship experience in the capital city of Scotland. Students will take two elective courses offered by Edinburgh Napier University and a third course offered by the Furman faculty director of the program. In addition to their coursework, students will complete a semester-long internship during their residency in Edinburgh. Edinburgh Napier University offers a full range of courses that can satisfy any student’s interests. Internships, judging by past years, will include the Scottish Parliament, the several Edinburgh regional councils, the media, the law, libraries, museums, health sciences and research sciences and businesses, as best fits each student’s area of interest and plan of study. As one of the great cosmopolitan capitals of Europe, Edinburgh offers students a unique and fascinating local culture with historical sites of global importance.

Faculty Directors: Dr. Dennis Haney (Biology); Dr. Laura Thompson (Biology)
This is a field-oriented program that will be taught on campus and in Belize. For the Marine Biology course we will emphasize the biodiversity, ecology, and physiology of marine organisms, especially as they relate to organism adaptation to the environment. Another focus will be to emphasize human influences on the marine environment. We’ll spend most days snorkeling along the second-largest Barrier Reef in the world; thus, all students must be comfortable in the water. In addition to coral reef studies, we’ll also examine other tropical marine communities such as seagrass beds, salt marshes, and mangroves. In Ethnobiology students will study ways, both in the classroom and at a variety of locales on mainland Belize, in which people understand and participate in human-plant-animal-natural interactions. Students will also learn how people, particularly native Belizeans, acquire traditional biological knowledge and how this knowledge is passed onto new generations.

Faculty Directors: Dr. Claude Stulting (Religion); Dr. Helen Lee Turner (Religion); Dr. James Leavell (History Emeritus)
From the church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the ancient Acropolis in Greece, the Byzantine-inspired St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, to the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, this program will explore the rich religious, artistic, and historical heritage of Turkey, Greece, and Italy. We will study on campus for the first 7 weeks, then travel for 7 weeks: 3 weeks in Turkey, 2 weeks in Greece, and 2 weeks in Italy. We will be back on campus for the last one and a half weeks of the semester.

SOUTHERN AFRICA – Botswana, Namibia, & South Africa
Faculty Directors: Dr. Kristy Maher (Sociology); Dr. Erin Hahn (Psychology); Dr. Erik Ching (History); Dr. Terri Bright (Art)
The Southern Africa Semester Program combines courses from the social sciences (SOC and PSY), fine arts (ART) and humanities (HST) to explore key issues in Southern Africa. After spending three weeks on campus laying the academic foundation for the coursework, students travel to South Africa, Namibia and Botswana for nine weeks. While in country they conduct site visits, engage with locals (through three separate homestays) and get to know the culture, history and people of the area. Courses focus on such topics as cultural factors contributing to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in this region of the world, challenges to child development for kids living in poverty, the ethics of photo journalism especially during the apartheid era in South Africa, and identity construction among various ethnic groups in the countries we’ll travel to. The semester wraps up with three additional weeks of on campus classes in April.

Faculty Directors: Dr. Danielle Vinson and Dr. David Fleming (Political Science)
Students will study political, civic, and cultural aspects of the American political system while living in Washington, DC. Students will work in internships during the day and take classes in the evening with a Furman professor. They will explore the cultural offerings in Washington on the weekends and participate in a service-learning project.

Exchange Programs 2013-2014

Program Coordinator: Dr. Shusuke Yagi (Asian Studies)

You'll enroll in a Japanese language course and content courses taught in English at Kansai Gaidai University in Hirakata, Japan. No Japanese language experience required.

Program Coordinator: Ms. Chrissy McCrary (Study Away & Int'l Education)

You'll enroll in liberal arts courses at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa.

Program Coordinator: Ms. Chrissy McCrary (Study Away & Int'l Education)

You'll enroll in English-language courses at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands. The program emphasizes Dutch Studies with opportunity for coursework in other disciplines.

Program Coordinator: Dr. Shusuke Yagi (Asian Studies)

You'll enroll for one year of full-time study at Waseda through the Tokyo School of International Liberal Studies. At least one year of prior Japanese language study is required.

Affiliate Programs 2013-2014

Program Coordinator: Dr. Bob Chance (Art)

You'll choose from varied art and art history offerings through the University of Georgia Studies Abroad Programs in Cortona, Italy. View program website

GLOBALINKS – Australia, New Zealand, or Fiji
Program Coordinator: Ms. Nancy Georgiev (Study Away & Int'l Education)

You'll have the chance enroll in courses at one of thirty universities in Australia, New Zealand, or Fiji. Furman University – Office for Study Away & International Education. View program website

Program Coordinator: Dr. Bob Fray (Mathematics)

You'll have the chance enroll in intensive mathematics courses in Budapest, Hungary. View program website

Program Coordinator: Dr. Anne Leen (Classics)

You'll enroll in courses on ancient history, archaeology, Greek and Latin literature, Italian language, and ancient art in Rome, Italy. This program is administered by Duke University. View program website


Program Coordinator: Dr. Kirk Karwan (Business/Accounting)

You'll enroll in upper-level business, economics, or communication studies courses. This program is administered by the University of Iowa. View program website

Program Coordinator: Dr. Anne Leen (Classics)

You'll take a travel-study approach to learning about the history and civilization of Greece and the East Mediterranean region. Program is based in Athens. View program website


Program Coordinator: Dr. Lloyd Benson (History)

You'll be immersed in Civil War Studies through two core seminars and one course in the Civil War Era Studies program at Gettysburg College. You'll also intern with a relevant agency and be housed in a Civil War-themed residence. View program website

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