Maymesters take college education beyond

Presbyterian College students quickly discover that a college education extends well beyond the classroom. They learn from new experiences. New encounters. New people. But one of the most exciting and innovative educational opportunities for PC students takes them beyond campus and, in many cases, worldwide. Read about past Maymester trips here.

Art it Italy Maymester: This course looks at the art and architecture created in Italy and Western Europe during the period 1300-1700 AD.  While we will look at the work of individual artists in detail, the work of that time is best understood in the context of the system of artistic patronage that spurred the vast cultural production that many see as the pinnacle of Western artistic achievement. Students should expect to know the names of artists, patrons, and prominent historical figures, as well as be able to define terms and identify key works of art.  The course emphasizes art and architecture as cultural production; as such, the understanding of social, historical, and cultural contexts is critical to understanding the material of the course.

Australia Maymester: Discover why Western Australia is a nature lovers’ paradise. Become an Exmouth Explorer and experience the many wonders of the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef. As you journey through the idyllic West Coast, you will experience a totally different side of Australia, a region many are yet to discover! Start your adventure in the most remote capital city of Perth before heading north to experience all the wonders of the west coast. Wander through the Pinnacles Desert, see the pink lake of Hutt Lagoon, hike along the Murchison River, peek through Natures Window, watch the infamous dolphins of Monkey Mia and snorkel Ningaloo Reef with the options of swimming with Manta Rays, Whale Sharks (seasonal) and Humpback Whales (Seasonal). This ultimate ten-day exploration ventures up as far as Exmouth and encapsulates all that is great along this fantastic coastline of Australia.

Brazilian History and Culture Maymester: Brazil is one of the most diverse countries in the world. Throughout history, many different cultures have coalesced to make Brazilian society the melting pot it is today. One aspect of Brazilian culture that benefited greatly from this socio-cultural dynamic is art. This course is designed to provide a rich artistic and musical experience guided by a Brazilian professor whose academic and artistic career is rooted in Brazil. Every student, despite their majors, is invited to explore the unique Brazilian art, music, and culture in a practical way: museum and art gallery visits, concert attendance, exploration of typical food, and more. A preparatory course will be offered in the Spring covering history, culture, art, and basics of the Portuguese language. PLEASE NOTE: The material will be provided by the instructor. While a significant part of the bibliography is originally in Portuguese, students do not need to display any level of proficiency. The instructor will provide selected excerpts of the literature translated into English. For those who are willing to explore the language, the instructor will be happy to provide the same material in Portuguese and even hold extracurricular discussions in the original language.

Germany/Central Europe Maymester: Throughout the Spring 2023 semester, we will read excerpts from several of Dr. Frankl’s primary works, including his world-famous Man’s Search for Meaning, an autobiography, and various books about his approach to psychotherapy, known as Logotherapy.

Legacies of the Scots-Irish Religious and Musical Traditions: In this Maymester, we will seek to understand the nature and effects of both religion and music upon the Scottish, Irish, and Scots-Irish immigrants to America during the colonial period along with their ongoing influence in America today—religiously and musically, especially in the southern Appalachian Mountains and the Carolinas. Religiously, these early settlers of the 17th to 19th centuries were heirs of considerable religious and political turmoil between Catholic and Presbyterian Christians, and, as the predominantly Presbyterian missionaries and immigrants settled throughout the Appalachian Mountains and the Carolinas, they fostered their religious, cultural, and political values in their quests for prosperity, religious freedom, and a common good. Musically, their Celtic, group sing-a-long, ballad, and religious music traditions flourished and would become driving forces in the development of America’s bluegrass, gospel, country, and ecclesiastical music traditions. Spartanburg’s own William Walker codified much of this strong musical heritage in the 1835 publication titled “Southern Harmony” that is still used today through much of Appalachia. But what exactly were the religious beliefs and experiences that propelled this large stream of settlers and made their contributions so profound and enduring? And what exactly is the nature of their musical traditions and what roles did they play in the development of America’s distinctive musical traditions? These and similar matters are the purview of this course, which will culminate with a ten-day travel experience to Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Ireland.

Carribean and the Carolinas in Culture and History Maymester: This course seeks to illuminate a now-hidden history connecting Charleston to a larger global plantation complex with Barbados as its hub. Our readings will map routes of exploration and colonization, and uncover commonalities of language and storytelling between Gullah and Bajan Creole English while contrasting literature produced in English on both sides of the color line. Augmenting our studies in the classroom will be our explorations on the ground in the historic districts of the sister cities of Charleston and Bridgetown, Barbados. Touring the physical spaces and visiting museums, attending lectures, and participating in guided tours will enhance students’ understanding of the literary texts we read for the course and also help them learn critical lessons about the worlds which they have inherited from this rich and challenging past.

The Gambia After Jammeh-Democracy and Reconciliation: Spend time on the African continent while visiting the countries of the Gambia and Senegal. This trip will explore the post-authoritarian government in Gambia and the role of peace and reconciliation in Gambian society following the collapse of the Jammeh regime. We will explore the role of democracy and the role of civil society organizations in the process of moving forward as a society, including meeting with important actors involved in the process.

IDRAC Summer Program: Most exchange students at IDRAC take junior-level courses, all of which are taught in English. Students will also take French language courses in order to improve their French for out-of-class purposes.