HPU Students Gain Global Experience through “Maymesters”

Jun 07th, 2019

HPU Students Gain Global Experience through “Maymesters”

Students discovered a world of possibilities through different study abroad opportunities across the world this summer. Here’s a glimpse!

As 14 HPU groups explored 17 destinations, students received the invaluable experience of what the world has to offer while traveling with classmates and faculty leaders across the globe. 


These students visited the City Hall of Santiago, Chile, to better understand Chilean government.


Chile in a Time of Transformation

In the past 40 years, Chile has experienced political, economic and cultural transformation. While in Chile, students experienced Chilean culture in cities such as La Serena, Valle del Elqui, Isla Damas, and Santiago. Their last week of the trip was spent in Valparaíso, working hard to finish up final exams, oral presentations and essays. 

“Studying abroad has strengthened my education at HPU and given me the opportunity to experience a culture different than my own,” says Sydney Sanders, a biology major with a minor in Spanish. “By being fully immersed in the Spanish language, I was challenged every day. The experience was very gratifying.”





Students gathered together for a photo in front of the ruins of the Temple of Hera Lacinia in Agrigento, Sicily.

Sicily: The Crossroads of the Mediterranean

One of three “Maymester” trips to Italy, this group of students explored the beauty of Sicily. Situated in the middle of the vast Mediterranean, the island of Sicily is somewhat off the beaten path, making it an ideal place from which to study and observe authentic Italian culture. Through surrounding sites and immersive day trips, students discovered the Greek Temples at Agrigento, navigated the Aeolian Islands, learned about ancient chocolate-making techniques in the baroque city of Modica, attended the colorful Infiorata di Noto festival, and hiked in the shadows of Mt. Etna, Europe’s tallest active volcano.

“We visited the Valle dei templi (Valley of the Temples) and the Giardino di Kolymbetra (Garden of Kolymbeta),” says Professor Tessa Gurney, leading the group. “We learned and laughed so much!”




Before entering the Edinburgh Castle, students paused to appreciate the hilltop monument of Scottish history.

Literary Scotland

In addition to boasting a Who’s Who of creative geniuses, the Scottish people have established unique ways of publicly honoring their literary past and present in order to shape their national identity for the future. This group of students visited Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and the breathtaking Isle of Skye. They saw several historic castles, the beautiful scenery of the Highlands and Loch Ness, and they followed in the footsteps of great Scottish writers. 

“Just reading popular and influential Scottish authors doesn’t give you the full depth of all that inspired them,” says Symaira Bolden, a biology major with double minors in English literature and psychology. “You may know that the Highlands are beautiful, but you don’t fully grasp it until you are standing in a valley between rolling mountains in northern Scotland. Being able to travel to Scotland after learning about its famous authors put me in their footsteps and gave me a better understanding of their experiences as a whole.” 




During their tour of the Sydney Opera House, this class stopped to appreciate the picturesque view.


An Australian Education Experience

During their time “down under,” students participated in a Sydney Harbor ferry excursion, toured the Sydney Opera House, snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef, journeyed through the rainforest near Cairns, and explored Uluru, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is a massive sandstone monolith in the heart of the Northern Territory’s arid “Red Centre.” The group gained a first-hand perspective on how the commonwealth’s unique history impacts its national approach to education in both private and public schools. 

“The School of Air caters to students who live in remote areas of the Australian Outback,” says Allison Patrick, an education major. “When I toured the visitor center in Alice Springs, I learned about the importance of culturally responsive teaching and openness to innovative teaching. My favorite part of the tour was when I saw a quilt made from the students across the Outback that showcased their different cultural backgrounds.”





While in Thailand, this class explored the Wat Mahathat (Temple of the Great Relic) to better understand Buddhism.










Buddhism and Culture of Southeast Asia

Immersed in the cultures of three magnificent countries, students developed an understanding of the role that Buddhism has played in Southeast Asia, past and present. These religion students toured the wats (temples) of Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Angkor Wat, and participated in tak batr (alms-giving to monks) at the foot of Doi Suthep Mountain. They also engaged in meditation sessions during an overnight stay at a Buddhist monastery, visited the Cu Chi Tunnel complex, took a poignant visit to the Tuol Slang Genocide Museum and the “Killing Fields” in Cambodia and spent the night in a traditional Karen village. They also visited floating markets and spent an afternoon with elephants to learn about their vital role in the Buddhist story.


“Buddhism is a fascinating religion, so being able to go to monasteries and speak with Buddhist monks in the regions where Buddhism is so prominent really enhanced my education of the religion,” says Emily Nagle, a broadcast journalism major with a French minor. “The trip brought me the most unforgettable memories with new and old friends, whether it was going on a trek up a mountain in Thailand, learning how to make the most delicious Thai food at a cooking class, feeling on top of the world at the Bangkok skywalk, participating in meditation with Buddhists and monks, or crouching down and trailing the Cu Chi Vietnam War tunnels. I would do anything to be laughing, eating, trekking, dancing and traveling around Southeast Asia again with my amazing Maymester class!”



While studying communication in Italy, this group experienced the ancient Colosseum of Rome.

International Communication: How Italian Products are Promoted Globally

A group of High Point University students from the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication spent two weeks exploring Italy’s rich culture. They spent time in the towns of Termoli and Carunchio, where they learned how Italian small businesses target markets in the United States, and visited the Colosseum, Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. The digital age has made globalization both a necessity and an opportunity for many businesses. This course explored basic principles of strategic communication in global society. Meeting with local business leaders such as olive growers, winemakers and pasta exporters engaging in the international marketplace, students gained insight into the rich cultural and artistic heritage of Italy.

“You can study a textbook or sit in a class all semester, but you won’t fully understand a culture and how they communicate until you actually go and experience it for yourself,” said Cassidy White, a journalism major. “Being able to see and understand these Italian businesses and to ask questions about their branding strategies has helped me so much.” 




HPU marketing students traveled to Guarda, Portugal, where they visited the Cathedral of Guarda and saw historic architectural styles.

Marketing and Spanish in Spain

High Point University students in the Earl N. Phillips School of Business learned the tricks of the marketing trade in Spain during a four-week “Maymester” trip. During their time in Spain, students combined their classwork with experiential learning by traveling to the charming and student-friendly city of Salamanca, with breathtaking views of its Old Town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This class studied in a historic building at the 800-year-old Universidad de Salamanca, took weekend excursions to the Basque region of San Sebastian, visited the Andalucía cities of Cordoba and Sevilla, and explored the Castilla-Leon region, Segovia, La Alberca and three castles throughout the region. The course prepared them with a better understanding of marketing strategies and advertising linguistics in Spain.

“Being able to immerse ourselves in the business practices and culture of the country of Spain is what truly makes this trip so unique,” said Patrick Horn, a marketing major and sport management minor.




Exercise science students showed their HPU spirit while trekking up Mardi Himal,


Exercise Science at High Altitude

Traveling to Nepal, exercise science students lived among a group of Sherpa and gained experience in measuring, recording and evaluating longitudinal changes in physiological data and symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness in response to high altitude exposure. They studied various attributes of Sherpa culture and lifestyle to appreciate how such aspects contribute to the physiological differences they observed.