May Term globetrotting


Taryn Bertini

A key selling point of Simpson College is the Study Abroad program which mainly utilizes May Term. Students are able to travel all around the world to pursue studies.

by Taryn Bertini, Staff Reporter

Deciding what to do for May Term can be confusing as Simpson offers many different courses, but one of the things that make Simpson stand out is it gives students the opportunity to travel abroad.

Students are required to take at least two May Term courses during their time at Simpson and many students take this opportunity to travel as they will only be enrolled in one course and not have the risk of missing out for a whole semester.

Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Luke Behaunek, has taken students abroad for May Term multiple times. His most recent trip was to Spain and Italy in May of 2022 while teaching a course on photography. He also plans to take students to New Zealand this May to teach the same photography course but in a different location.

“It will be my second course in New Zealand. We spend 15 days navigating the two main islands, hitting as many photography highlights as we can, then returning to campus for a few days to edit photos and share them with our classmates,” Behaunek said.

One of the many reasons students decide to travel abroad is to gain new cultural experiences and step out of their comfort zones while also growing as a person.

Senior Colbee Cunningham has taken many opportunities through Simpson to travel abroad going to Granada, Spain and most recently, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and reflects heavily on those experiences.

“International travel is an unparalleled experience that exposes you to new cultures, challenges you to escape your comfort zone and teaches you lessons that transcend a traditional classroom,” Cunningham said. 

Many students may be hesitant about traveling abroad as it can be a very scary experience, especially for those who have not traveled outside of the United States, but Behaunek says he regrets not taking the opportunity to do so while he was in school. He has since tried to make up for it both personally and professionally.

“It’s certainly an eye-opening experience for students,” he said. “It’s really a type of learning you can’t replicate without taking a leap and going on a course like that.”

Traveling abroad provides many different lessons and growth opportunities for students as it gives them a global understanding and appreciation of cultures outside of our own. 

Cunningham explains how she personally has grown and improved as a person by becoming more independent, culturally aware, outgoing, curious and confident. 

Traveling abroad with other students at Simpson is also a great opportunity to meet new people that you may not interact with on a daily basis. It provides students a chance to come together as a group and grow as individuals while also making some of the greatest memories of their life they will share with others who have the same passion to grow.

“College is a time to try new things and make life-long memories, why not study abroad?” Cunningham said.