On May 13, 15 students along with Peter Stadtmueller, professor of Graphic Design, and Joe Johnson, Ph.D., professor of Physics, are traveling to Japan for 11 days.
“Students will be immersed in and experience true Japanese culture,” Stadtmueller said.
The group is scheduled to visit five cities within their time in Japan — Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone, Osaka and Hiroshima.
The group will not only gain the opportunity to experience the quiet, beautiful countryside with its snow-capped mountains and blossoming cherry trees, but also become immersed in Japan’s fast-paced city life.
“When Dr. Hosey and I have talked about the trip as a general concept, we wanted to explore the modern-day tech giant that is still steeped in tradition,” Stadtmueller said.
Students had the opportunity to earn up to seven credits total with the trip’s two Mini 4 classes.
Three credits were available with the Graphics and GoPro class taught by Stadtmueller as a REACH class or art elective.
“In the GoPro class, we’re learning on working on some practical skills and applying them to a video journal/ travel diary,” Stadtmueller said. “The students’ assignment is to make some small documentaries about their experiences in Japan. For example, one student is making a video about the Harajuku Girls, another is doing the Peace Memorial Park and another is making a video about traditional Japanese food.”
For Stadtmueller, this Japan trip will be his eighth GoPro study abroad trip.
“I like these GoPro trips because students get to document lifelong memories that can’t be duplicated,” Stadtmueller said. “I often heard from students’ parents about how happy they are that their kid got to document and experience these trips in a visual way.”
The additional four credits are available through Johnson’s class, the Science of the Martial Arts, which could be taken for REACH with a lab or as a physics elective.
Students are required to answer how the trip changed the way they view the world, especially if they had any preconceived notions that were wrong.
For students using a study abroad experience for Beyond the Gates, they will think about what life lessons they took away from the trip and if any new habits developed as a result of travel.
Despite students in the GoPro class filming their experience, there are certain points where Stadtmueller bans all technology.
“When we’re somewhere reverent or at a nice sit-down dinner, I have a strict no-phones policy. It is important that we are not only respectful of each other and the places we visit, but that we also can separate ourselves from our normal lives and routines and experience some solitude. I’m a big believer that the groups with the best chemistry make the trip, not the destination,” Stadtmueller said.
Senior Graphic Design major Curtis Waidley is one of the lucky students going on the trip.
As a Photography minor, he took the GoPro class, but also opted to immerse himself in martial arts by taking the physics class.
“Dr. Johnson’s physics class is very interactive. It combines anatomy and physics in relation to martial arts techniques,” Waidley said.
“We actually learn a lot of martial arts in the class and the physics principles on top of that,” Waidley said. “One interesting part is that we have calculated the force of a punch in our labs. I’m excited now to start experiencing life in Japan.”