Liberal Arts students spend spring break abroad through embedded courses

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Over spring break, Penn State students explored new cultures all around the world. The College of the Liberal Arts sent students to Scotland, Cambodia, Curacao, Greece and Italy through Penn State international embedded courses. From March 3-11, students enrolled in one of the five embedded courses saw the classroom come to life by visiting historical and cultural sites and interacting with local people.

Students enrolled in IT 197 and BIOL 497 Anatomy in Italy: Cadavers, Culture and Science traveled to Italy with Jason Laine, assistant teaching professor of Italian. The embedded program focused on the Italian Renaissance and its affects on the development of science and how anatomy is studied today. Before spring break, the class had studied Italian language and culture in order to prepare them for their time in Italy. Nicole Hatchard, a senior science major enrolled in the course, shared that her class traveled to Verona, Bologna, Florence and Rome during the week. While in Bologna, they met medical students at the University of Bologna and also talked to medical students enrolled in programs in Florence.

Students enrolled in CAMS 25U, CAMS/HIST 100 and CAMS 400W traveled to Greece with Mark Munn, professor of ancient Greek history and Greek archaeology, and Mary Lou Munn, associate teaching professor of classics and ancient Mediterranean studies. Natasha Nagle, a senior majoring in anthropology, classics and ancient Mediterranean studies and geosciences, enjoyed hearing Munn’s perspective of the historical sites that they visited and considered it a highlight of the trip. During their time in Greece, they learned about Greek ancient history and “its interconnectedness throughout the Mediterranean region.” Nagle highly recommends the embedded program to all students.

Students enrolled in ANTH 140 Anthropology of Alcohol traveled to Scotland with Kirk French, associate teaching professor of anthropology. They spent seven days visiting local distilleries and breweries around Scotland. They also learned about the impact of alcohol on Scottish culture.

Students enrolled in PSYCH 212/ HDFS 239 traveled to Cambodia with Cathleen Hunt, associate teaching professor of psychology. The psychology and human development and family studies students visited local schools in Cambodia and learned about the opportunities available for students in pre-K to 12th grade. Mark Klemencic, a teaching assistant on the trip majoring in psychology and biology, learned a lot from his time in Cambodia and reflected on it by saying, “Education is powerful. Cambodia has suffered greatly from genocides, political corruption, and horrific wartime events — including those imposed by the United States in the 20th century. To experience, firsthand, the deep-rooted passion of Cambodians to help their people through education was absolutely life-changing.”

Students enrolled in CRIM 412 Curacao: Crime, Social Control and the Legal System traveled to Curacao with Howard Smith, assistant teaching professor of criminology. Criminology major Brittany Freelin, the teaching assistant for CRIM 412, expressed her enjoyment of “seeing students engaged and learning” during the educational spring break trip. While in Curacao, students had the opportunity to visit several criminal justice organizations, including the Coast Guard, police, customs, a prosecutor’s office, a courthouse and a prison. Students enrolled in the class learned how the prison on the island operated and compared it to prisons in the United States. Additionally, students explored Curacao and learned about the local culture of the Dutch Caribbean Island.

To learn more about embedded courses offered through the College of the Liberal Arts, contact the Global Experiences Coordinator in the Liberal Arts Career Enrichment Network, Chelsea Keen, at

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Last Updated March 26, 2018