The gift of travel is seeing the world from a new perspective, as intrepid explorers are exposed to unfamiliar surroundings and experiences. At Ross, students can step outside of their comfort zones and embark on a life-changing journey during Midwinter Term, or M-Term.
This year’s off-campus M-Terms are spread across the globe. Each offers students and teachers an opportunity to connect with people of vastly different cultures and traditions. The impact of these experiences is profound. On An Intensive Documentary Experience: Ethiopia, students have become acutely aware of the wealth and abundance in America as they explore impoverished towns and share personal exchanges with locals, such as showing an Ethiopian priest how to use an iPad. In addition to documenting their travels by creating photo essays and short films, the students are performing community service in the form of educational exchange.
On the west coast of South America, students on Expedition Galapagos: A Program of Service Learning and Exploration have been working with local communities, visiting ecologically important sites, and teaching children about the environment and ecological issues specific to that region. They even learned how to milk a cow and roast coffee beans. From painting playground equipment at a school to removing invasive species of plants harmful to the delicate Galapagos ecosystem, Ross students have been learning about the power of community service and sustainable development.
In Southeast Asia, the students studying Ethnomusicology in Bali have been learning and practicing Balinese songs and dances, including a monkey chant, an elaborate and rhythmic song that requires many participants. They will give a final performance before returning home next week. Aside from immersing themselves in native music, the students have been exploring the country, from jungles to beaches. They even witnessed a traditional cremation procession and ceremony, which they captured on video.
In neighboring Thailand, students in Community Service and Cultural Immersion on Thailand’s Coast engaged in community service at a Burmese refugee school. There they painted a map of the world to help students learn about geography, built bookshelves, repaired the school garden, and spent quality time with local children. They also learned how to thatch roofs or structures using palm leaves. In addition to their service projects, the students got a lay of the land by visiting shrines at local temples, exploring beaches and mangrove swamps, trekking through forests and swimming under waterfalls, and learning about Thai culture, including the importance of monkhood as a rite of passage for young men.
The winding city streets and rolling hills of Italy are the setting for students in Walking/Seeing/Understanding: Hiking the Hill Towns of Tuscany, as they traverse extensive landscapes by foot. Ross students have visited the Etruscan ruins, the Coliseum, the Pantheon, and the Vatican, to name a few historical landmarks. Traveling by foot has allowed them to peel back the many layers of Italian culture and better understand the impact its rich history has had on modern-day society.
Finally, in Independent Study in Brazil: International Tennis Matches and Training, students from the Ross School Tennis Academy have been perfecting their games, meeting top Brazilian tennis players, and experiencing Brazilian culture. In between sets on the court, they have hiked the countryside, visited small towns, and enjoyed traditional foods.
Keep up with all of Ross School’s M-Term adventures at www.ross.org/mterm.