Students embark on UAA's first ever short-term study abroad experience

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

On January 2, 2008, twelve UAA students, led by Anthropology Professor Dr. Christine Hanson and International Student Advisor Doni Williams, embarked on UAA's first ever short-term study abroad experience to the city of Merida on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. Students visited Mayan archeological sites including Dzibilchaltun, Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and Ek Balam, as well as a contemporary Mayan village and two bio-reserves accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide. Students lived with host families during the course, which helped them to understand and be immersed in modern Mexican culture and family life.

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Opportunities such as this ten day program make study abroad accessible to a wide variety of students whose schedules don't allow for prolonged periods away from their families or careers. Faculty members interested in setting up short-term curricula to the Yucatan or elsewhere are encouraged to contact Doni Williams in the International Student Services office for student application and selection protocols as well as logistical support.

Here is what some of the students had to say:

"I had not expected to learn so much in just ten days! I was really skeptical before leaving Anchorage that ten days would be enough to have a study abroad experience. I now feel that I did get a good feel for what a semester-length study abroad program might be like.

"I loved my host family! They were so welcoming and so kind. It was a great opportunity to experience Mexican lifestyles first-hand."

"All the site visits were relevant and greatly enhanced our Mayan educational pursuits."

"The experience far exceeded my expectations. I was expecting to be shuffled about to various locations without much direction. Instead, we were surprised with a very knowledgeable local guide who provided informative, relevant insights. I was exceptionally pleased with the entire experience."

"This trip was so well organized that we never had to worry about where we were going, how we would get there, or what was for lunch. It was all taken care of and allowed us to focus more of our energy on the academic content."

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