UNCG CAS Students Travel the Globe Over Summer Break

Posted on September 01, 2023

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Archaeological digs in Israel, Greece, and Tanzania. Cultural and historical learning opportunities in Taiwan and Zanzibar. Scientific research experiences in England and Costa Rica.

This summer, students in the College of Arts & Sciences at UNCG expanded their knowledge, experience, and worldviews through faculty-led study-abroad across the globe.

See where our students traveled this summer:

Bath, England

UNCG’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry sponsored a study abroad course this summer at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, organized by Professors Terry Nile, Norman Chiu and Anne Glenn. For 10 weeks, the undergraduate students conducted research in sustainable chemistry. Participants were recruited from six different colleges and universities in North Carolina (including UNCG), as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant called Chemistry for a Sustainable Future: An Undergraduate Experience in the UK. The students were provided funding for their research, travel, and housing, in addition to a $6,000 stipend.

Cádiz, Spain

A group of 20 UNCG students traveled to Cádiz, Spain, with professors Felipe Troncoso, Ignacio López Alemany, and graduate student Keyla Marquez Vergel as part of their Spanish studies in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. In addition to taking six credits in Spanish, students visited prehistoric sites, Roman ruins, medieval Islamic palaces, and Gothic churches. They also took surf and flamenco lessons and learned to cook famous Spanish paella.


A group of eight UNCG students spent a month this summer excavating at Israel’s largest archaeological site: Caesarea Maritima. Led by history professor Dr. Asa Eger, the students learned hands-on techniques in stratigraphic excavation, artifact recovery, and drawing sections. Caesarea was the capital of the region in the Roman and Byzantine periods; Eger’s research opens areas of the site never excavated before, dating to the Early Islamic, Crusader, and Ottoman periods.


For this interdisciplinary study-abroad class combining Communication Studies and Kinesiology, students teamed up with the Fairhill Community in Cork, Ireland. Led by Drs. Kristen Christman and Donna Duffy, students in “Positive Communication in Health and Physical Activity Settings” developed relationships with community members and assisted in capturing their voices, which were used to create a presentation influencing the establishment of a new community center. They interacted with a men’s art group, a women’s crochet group, and an afterschool group within the community center. They also went on many excursions and helped to paint a “wall of friendship” at the community center to prepare for a visit from the Lord Mayor! Read more about the project in this news article.

COSTA RICA – Biology Program

The Biology & Conservation of Sea Turtles course (12 students), led by Melanie Stadler, a PhD Candidate in the Biology Department, traveled to the remote island of Tortuguero, Costa Rica to participate in one of the longest-running sea turtle research projects in the world. For nine days, students assisted researchers in conducting nightly sea turtle patrols and morning nest surveys, measured nesting adult green sea turtles and counted eggs as they were laid, recorded data, and helped create educational and craft materials for the local community. Students stayed in the dorms at the research station with no air conditioning, cold water showers, and geckos on their pillows, but also wonderfully authentic Costa Rican food! They were also without power for a few days due to storms on the island — a true introduction to life in the jungle!

COSTA RICA – Languages Program

A group of UNCG students traveled to Costa Rica to participate in Languages, Literatures, and Cultures‘ four-week study abroad program, “Spanish Language through Community Engagement.” This program offers Spanish language courses tailored to a wide range of levels and the opportunity to engage with local communities. This year’s coursework included a visit to Manuel Antonio National Park (pictured) in the province of Puntarenas, where they observed wildlife such as monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and more! Students got to learn about the importance of this national park, including that it is part of the 25% of Costa Rica that is protected.


Each summer, the Classical Studies Department takes students on a month-long study abroad experience in Greece. For the first five days, they tour the sites on the mainland before heading to the small Cyclandic Island of Kea. There, they assist Dr. Joanne Murphy on an ongoing archaeological research project. This year, 13 students attended, including eight from UNCG. Pictured (left) is Murphy lecturing at the Theatre of Dionysus in Athens.

London, England

Two undergraduate English majors  – Katherine Wyrick and Bronwen Bradshaw (pictured)  – won competitive scholarships to attend the T.S. Eliot International Summer School in London, England over the summer. UNCG English professor Dr. Anthony Cuda (third from left) is executive director of the Summer School, which meets every July at the historic Senate House at the University of London. The Summer School is the premiere global venue for research and study of the work of the Nobel prize-winning poet and acclaimed thinker, T. S. Eliot. Along with 50+ other participants from 16 different nations, the students attended daily lectures and seminars, saw a performance at the Globe Theatre, and made academic day trips to sites associated with Eliot’s poems.

OldUVai Gorge, Tanzania

Dr. Charles Egeland of the Anthropology Department led two courses at the ongoing research program at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Olduvai Gorge is one of the world’s premier paleoanthropological sites, part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over four weeks, students learn paleoanthropological field and laboratory techniques from an international team of experts as part of The Olduvai Paleoanthropology and Paleoecology Project (TOPPP), which is focused on reconstructing the behavior and biology of human ancestors between two and one million years ago. 


History professor Dr. James Anderson led a group of students on a study-abroad experience in Taiwan this summer. Over five weeks, they visited sites of indigenous Taiwanese society, explored the famous forts and temples of the southern city of Tainan, and studied the modern transformation of the island nation. These field trips supplemented their classwork on the campus of Tamkang University (TKU). TKU professor Lee Chi-Lin, as well as his undergraduate and graduate students, joined the group for many activities, which enhanced the overall study aboard experience for everyone.

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Led by Drs. Hewan Girma of African American and African Diaspora Studies (AADS) and David Aarons of the School of Music, a group of UNCG students and recent alumni explored the rich history and cultures of Zanzibar, Tanzania and the Swahili coast. They visited Zanzibar’s renowned Spice Farm, learned to cook Swahili cuisine from local women, toured the Old East African Slave Market Memorial, took a trip to mainland Tanzania, learned conversational Swahili, and much more. The program, jointly sponsored by UNCG Honor’s College and the AADS program, will be expanded in future years while maintaining affordability for students to experience this high-impact learning opportunity.

Story by Elizabeth Keri, College of Arts & Sciences

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