J-Term Travel COURSE Info Sessions

Sail away! exploring, snorkeling, community service and sailing in the Caribbean   

May 14 & 20, 2024

3:30 PM, Hill 3 on May 14th

4 PM, Zoom on May 20th

Do you enjoy spending time in nature? Ever wanted to sail a catamaran? Interested in learning about Caribbean history and cultures? Then this is the trip for you!

This J-Term focuses on examining our relationship with nature, learning about Caribbean culture and histories, and embracing adventure. We’ll be partnering with Broadreach to sail a 46’ catamaran around the islands of St. Martin, Ile Fourche, St. Barts and Statia for 8 nights.  Students will explore a variety of habitats from shallow bays, open ocean, and protected harbors. We’ll disembark daily to explore the islands, participate in service projects, and learn about the histories and cultures of the islands. Participants will actively learn, explore and build skills through hands-on discovery and interaction with the world’s oceans, ecosystems and wildlife.

This course entails hiking, boating, swimming, and spending time outside. Students must be good swimmers and be comfortable being on boats and with long hikes and outdoor activities.

Academic Prerequisites: None 

Other Prerequisites: Sponsor Approval (application here)

Cost per Student: $3,950 

Maximum Enrollment: 12

Time: Two-week course - January 21-30

Information Sessions: Tuesday, May 14 at 3:30 in Hill 3 on Durham Campus OR Monday, May 20 at 4pm via Zoom here

Information Flyer here

conservation in Costa Rica

In order to protect their home, community members of Palo Seco, Costa Rica, must continue to reforest mangrove trees to keep their coastline stable.This tour offers students a firsthand learning experience into stabilizing ecosystems through the efforts of community farming. Students will have the opportunity to collaborate with fellow students to find solutions to local issues in the environment.They’ll also discover the biodiversity of this beautiful country from every angle with visits to hot springs, hiking to La Fortuna Waterfall, as well as collecting and planting seeds. Students will also enjoy participating and interacting with locals as they learn folklore and participate in cultural exchanges.

If you are interested in going then please do the following:

Sponsor: Ron Patten

Co-sponsor's: Jason Joseph and Hannah Schwartz

Total cost = $4,200 per student 

Souvenirs, airport meals and snacks = suggest $300 per student

Cost of the trip will be about $180 more if signing up after June 2024.

Academic Prerequisites: None 

Other Prerequisites: None

Cost per Student: $4,200

Maximum Enrollment: 18

Time: Two-week course (January 21 - 30, 2025

A TALE OF TWO CONTINENTS: A Journey into the Heart of Turkey

Would you like to travel to Turkey and explore its iconic landmarks, archaeological sites, and bustling markets? 

Join Meltem Safak, David Dry, and Jane Cantwell on “A Tale of Two Continents: A Journey into the Heart of Turkey” as we discover the beauty, charm, and culinary treasures of Turkey, a land where history and tradition intertwine to create an enchanting tapestry of experiences.

Ready to find out more about our travel J-Term “A Tale of Two Continents: A Journey into the Heart of Turkey”? Check out THE FACT SHEET to get the details. 

Mark your calendars for May 13 for our in-person interest meeting in Morganton in AC 2206, 5:00-5:00 PM, or 7:30-8:30 PM on ZOOM for our virtual meeting. We will also record the Zoom session in case you are unable to attend either meeting. Please feel free to reach out to either Dr. Meltem Safak (meltem.safak@ncssm.edu), Dr. David Dry (david.dry@ncssm.edu), or Ms. Jane Cantwell (jane.cantwell@ncssm.edu) if you have any questions.

You can express your interest in this J-Term trip by completing the application here.

Academic Prerequisites: None 

Cost per Student: $5,000+/-  (including Explorica agency fees and SCSSI fees)

Maximum Enrollment: 12

Time: Four-week course (January 8 - 30, 2025)


May 14th 3:15 PM - Beall 1 

May 16th 6 PM - Zoom

Join us for this journey of discovery into the myth, history, art, architecture, and cultures of Greece. The first two weeks will be on the Durham campus and will include discussions of ancient and modern texts and explorations of Greek art and architecture. You will also have the chance to explore a topic of special interest in a research project and presentation. In the second two-weeks, we will travel to Greece to visit the places we have studied, including sites around Athens and the islands of Naxos and Santorini. We will explore the Acropolis, the ancient city of Thera, the Bronze Age city of Akrotiri, the castle of Chora, and temples of Apollo, Dionysus, and Demeter. Through visits to archaeological sites and museums, we will bring the ancient past to life. Our time in Greece will involve significant walking and trail hiking. 

 Online Zoom Session: May 16, 6:00 - 6:30 pm 

Greek Odyssey J-term Fact Sheet

Greek Odyssey J-term  Application

Greek Odyssey J-term  Slideshow



MAY 14 7:00pm


We are excited to once again offer the popular L.A. Noir travel course for January-Term 2025!

The architecture, geography, and people of Los Angeles influenced the way Hollywood filmmakers portrayed 20th century life. In turn, the films they made - especially in the style called film noir - not only depicted the city in its best light and deepest shadows but also forged an enduring image of L.A.

We will spend our first four days together on the Durham campus, learning about film noir and the role that Los Angeles plays in setting the mood, while watching classic film noir and neo-noir.  Then we will head to sunny Los Angeles, where we will see the neighborhoods that provide the background of our films, learn about the film industry,and see films in classic Hollywood film houses. We will visit amazing sights like the Santa Monica Pier, Paramount Studios, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Universal Studios Hollywood, and more.

NCSSM-Morganton and NCSSM-Durham Students and Families!

PLEASE JOIN US for one of our upcoming L.A. Noir 2025 Interest Meetings: 


Tuesday, May 14

3:15 - 4:15 PM

Durham Campus, ETC Dry Lab



Tuesday, May 14

7:00 - 7:30 PM



Please take a look at the L.A. Noir Google Site for a preview of details, including travel costs and itinerary.

If you can't make either meeting, don't worry: we'll record the Zoom session and share the link to the recording.

We hope you’ll want to join us in the L.A. sunshine!

Your sponsors Michael Bruno (bruno@ncssm.edu) and Meredith Murphy (murphym@ncssm.edu)

Creative Writing: Finding Inspiration in Iceland’s Frozen Landscape

Embark on an epic Icelandic odyssey under the guidance of a seasoned Viking tour guide, where adventure, exploration, wonder, and creativity converge to create an unforgettable journey. Engage in immersive writing workshops in this breathtaking landscape, drawing inspiration from the storied past and mystical surroundings to craft your own tales of adventure and heroism. With a home base in Reykjavik, students will venture out daily to explore the surrounding country while learning about how writers engage with observational skill, description, and memory. Daily workshops run by NCSSM’s Creative Writing instructors combined with a wild new landscape make for a singular approach to immersive travel. Learn to travel like a writer with your senses open, capture landscapes in words, and explore the complex history of travel writing. We will read and emulate great travel writers as well as Icelandic literary icons. By the end of the trip, you will have a polished piece to share with the NCSSM community to remember your journey.

Highlights include: visits to Þingvellir National Park, the awe-inspiring spectacles of Gullfoss, Skogafoss, and Seljalandsfoss, Mýrdalsjökull glacier, the Katla Ice cave, and – with any luck – we will gaze at the stars and watch the magical northern lights dance across the sky. Are you ready to unite with fellow adventurers in unlocking the secrets of Iceland's winter realm? Join us on an epic adventure that few travelers will ever experience. Each activity, sightseeing excursion, and creative writing workshop weaves a thread in the rich tapestry of your own epic saga. 

Info Sessions: 

Wednesday, May 15 6:00 p.m. via Zoom (link: https://ncssm.zoom.us/j/94935474328)

Thursday, May 16 4:00 p.m. in Beall 7

Writing in Iceland Info Sheet

Application Link

Land of fire and ice: iceland

Hey Dragons and Unicorns,

If you are interested in going on a J-term trip your junior year, be sure to check out our Iceland trip! All of the trip information can be found on our website

If you are interested in the trip after viewing the website, be sure to apply by Thursday, May 23rd.

If you have any questions or concerns, let me know. We look forward to seeing you in August!


Cameron Robinson

Apply Now: https://forms.gle/EeVGWiinq1AJc4N7A

baja marine science adventure

Course Sponsors = Lindsay Smith and Chris Collins

Any Questions? Please reach out to lindsay.smith@ncssm.edu

Academic Prerequisites: None

Other Prerequisites: Student Application

Cost per Student: 

The cost per student includes air travel to and from Los Cabos International Airport, boat and land travel in Mexico, all meals, lodging, and all activities and excursions.

Maximum Enrollment: 12

Time: Two-week course (January 21 - 30, 2025)

Are you ready for an adventure? Then this trip is for you. Picture yourself snorkeling in the sky-blue waters of the Gulf of California, a UNESCO World Heritage site and famously called the “Aquarium of the World”. Home to over 890 species of fish, a third of the world’s cetacean species, and several protected and endemic species. In this life changing experience we will be immersing ourselves in the culture and incredible beauty of the Baja Peninsula’s marine and desert ecosystems. Activities may include swimming with sea lions, collecting data on the invasive crown of thorns sea star, participating in coral reef fish and invertebrate biodiversity research, hiking in the Sonoran Desert in search of species found nowhere else in the world, collaborating with a local high school’s eco club, seeing stars and the night sky like you have never seen them before, and collecting data for a research project of your choice. 

This experience will truly be an adventure as the majority of our days and nights while in Baja will be spent on Espiritu Santo Island, a beautiful national park. We will be camping on a pristine beach on the uninhabited island surrounded by turquoise waters and red rock mountains. Very few permits are given to camp on the island so this is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity that definitely will not disappoint. 

To learn more about the trip and to view a potential itinerary, check out this link from our tour operator, Ecology Project International. Here is a Detailed Itinerary from the trip last year (not necessarily the same itinerary this year).

Three Information Meetings for Interested Morganton and Durham Families:

Virtual Presentation given by Ecology Project International

May 15th, 7-8 pm 

Presentation Recording

In-Person Meeting

May 16th, 4-5pm

Morganton Campus - AC2114

Drop-In Virtual Q&A

May 21st, 6 - 7 pm

Zoom Link 

Ready to Apply? Complete the following form by May 23rd @11:59pm (applicants will be notified for their selection by May 25th and will need to either accept or reject their acceptance by June 14th)

Backtracking Japan: The Golden RoutE

Hello UniDragons!

Melani Harden, Axel Battista, and myself (Dr. Aranda) would like to welcome you to our J-Term! 

Japan: The Golden Route awaits you in January 2025! Do you desire to see shrines, temples, museums, and yearn to learn more about Japanese Culture? Wait no further as we plan to see it all!

We have two opportunities to learn more information about our J-Term and get to know the sponsors. Both interest meetings will be held virtually to accommodate both campuses.

Interest Meeting 1: 

Wednesday, May 15th from 7:00pm-8:00pm

Google Meet Link: meet.google.com/gux-awec-dee

Interest Meeting 2:  

Monday, May 20th from 7:00pm-8:00pm

Google Meet Link: meet.google.com/spz-zvea-bdo

For those who cannot contain their excitement, you may go ahead and apply. Applications will be approved via sponsor discretion. Please note that spots are first come, first serve.

We hope to see you soon! 

Cityscapes & Minds: Journeying Through London, Paris, and Rome

Are you ready to journey through the cultural epicenters of Europe? Join us for "Cityscapes & Minds: Journeying Through London, Paris, and Rome" — an exploration that merges photography, history, and psychology through some of the world's most iconic cities.

Here’s a sneak peek at what we have lined up for you:




For more details visit our website and attend our interest meeting on Monday, May 13, 2024 at 6:30 pm via Zoom. 

To secure your spot on this epic adventure, please fill out our interest form available on our website. Don’t miss your chance to be part of this incredible journey!


*** Click HERE to let us know which session you'll be attending! 

(must be signed into your NCSSM email to access link)***

Hello NCSSM students and families!

We are thrilled to announce the 2025 J-Term to Italy and we want you to come with us! 

We will be visiting: Rome, Vatican City, Florence, Venice, Pisa, Lucca, and Bologna! 

Come experience amazing culture, gelato, an Italian cooking class, sights, history, bike rides, gelato, art, food, gelato...and so much more!

We will be hosting two meetings on Thursday, May 16th:

3:15pm in-person in Hill 019 for current Durham students, and 

6pm on Zoom for current and future students and families.


You only need to attend one of these sessions. We will also record the zoom session and post it to the canvas page in case you are unable to attend either session.

Please check out our Canvas page for more information and to access the application form.

So UNIs and Dragons, are you ready to experience the culture and history of Italy?

If so, join us on Thursday May 16th! 


The Italy J-Term Sponsors,

Lamia Younes, Mark Dubois, and Sue Anne Lewis

AMAZON RAINFOREST EXPEDITION: From Lima to Rainforest to Coastal Cliffs

Hello all,

I am excited to invite you to apply for the 2025 Travel JTerm course, Amazon Rainforest Expedition: From Lima to rainforest to coastal cliffs! In this email, you will find a summary of the trip, a link to our application, and details about an optional Zoom session that will take place on 5/17!

Trip Summary: From the river to the rainforest, immerse yourself in the ancient traditions and exotic ecosystems of Peru.  Experience the Amazon’s other-worldly wildlife on a cruise down the longest river on the planet, and encounter nature like never before.  Pink river dolphins, piranhas, monkeys, capybaras, parrots, poison dart frogs, sloths, and toucans are just some of the creatures we may come across.  In addition to the river rides and jungle walks, we will also head through the longest treetop walkway in the world via a series of suspended bridges and aerial platforms, visit an ethnobotanical garden, get a demonstration from a local shaman, and then travel by boat to an island that serves as a sanctuary for rescued monkeys.  We will stop at the Amazon Rescue Center, where a local biologist will show travelers the work that the Center does to rescue, rehabilitate, and reinstate injured river manatees back into the wild. Upon leaving the Amazon rainforest, we will make an additional excursion to the coastal region of Peru. We will visit Paracas National Park to see many species of birds and red sand beaches, and we will take a walk through the desert to the Morón Oasis where we can hike up and down sand dunes and enjoy the desert at sunset. A more detailed trip summary can be found here.

Application: In order to maintain a correct student-to-faculty ratio, we will utilize an application process. Please apply here once you are ready to commit to the trip!

Optional Info Session: Students and parents are free to join us on 5/17 from 4:30pm to 5pm via this Zoom link. In this session, we will go over the trip summary, details about EF Tours and the chaperones, and have time for questions from students and parents!


Samantha Moore and Beth Bumgardner

The West!

Interest Meetings



MOROCCO: Culture in the Imperial Cities

Morocco offers travelers surprises around every corner. You can watch the sunset from a rooftop café in Marrakesh's landmark square, Jemaa el-Fnaa, as you sip Morocco's famed mint tea, step back in time while visiting its imperial cities, and learn about its rich culture from friendly local residents. You'll quickly see why some of your most captivating photos will come from Morocco. Amid stunning landscapes, beautiful architecture, and the call of the muezzin at prayer times, you’ll be immersed in the Moroccan lifestyle, allowing you to experience aspects of life you won’t see elsewhere. If you love exploring new cultures, cuisine, and languages, and you're willing to embark on a journey that introduces you to a new of way of experiencing the world, then join us for a life-changing trip to Morocco.  Email smith@ncssm.edu with questions and/or interest and visit our official site here 

Academic Prerequisites: None 

Other Prerequisites: Instructor approval. We ask that any student considering this tour be open to engaging respectfully and enthusiastically in group travel, as well as be willing to conduct themselves appropriately, especially in light of the cultural and behavioral norms of our host country.

Cost per Student: $4,000 +/-

Maximum Enrollment: 20

Time: Four-week course (January 8 - 30, 2025)

Writing in Femme

Tuscany of Dante and the medicis

Do you want to walk in Dante’s footsteps and follow the Medici dynasty while exploring medieval and Renaissance art?  This interdisciplinary course will explore the rich and diverse art (visual, written, spoken) and history of medieval to Renaissance Tuscany with a focus on Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, the Medici family, and its contributions to art and culture.  The first part of this course will take place in the classroom where we will dive into history, politics, philosophy, and literature of late medieval Italy. We will study texts and artifacts that will prepare us to engage more deeply and meaningfully with what we will experience across our travels. You will be able to conduct some independent research on topics of your choice (art, architecture, early printed books, digital technologies for cultural heritage, etc.) and present your findings to the class. We will read selections from Dante’s Divine Comedy and discuss them in small groups, as well as write our own Divine Comedy in miniature.  Our second two weeks will take place in Tuscany!  Join us to walk the streets Dante strolled and read your own writing in the courtyard of the Dante House museum.  View the famous David at the Accademia and the most impressive collection of Renaissance art in the world at the Uffizi.  Climb the steps of Brunelleschi’s Dome; see the Gates of Paradise.  Learn the art of pasta making at Mercato Centrale.  Take the long walk to the top of Michelangelo Square and peer across Florence from 11th century Basilica San Miniato al Monte.  Continue on through Sienna, Pisa, and San Gimignano; enjoy a beachside hike from town to town in Cinque Terre.  In addition to soaking up art and history, students will be expected to bring a willingness to eat all the pizza, pasta, and gelato to content their tummies and their hearts!

Flyer (linked)

Fact Sheet (linked)

Parent Information Session Zoom Link (May 28 from 6:00-7:00pm)

Trip Website with SCSSI Payment Link in Upper Right Hand Corner 

Photos (Sampling) from Last Year’s Trip

New Zealand/Australia

Good Morning Unicorns & Dragons, 

I'm excited to announce the next great J-Term 2025 journey down under to New Zealand, Australia, and the Great Barrier Reef.

On this trip we will explore the culture and environments unique to the South Pacific, and snorkel on the majestic Great Barrier Reef.  

We will hold an interest meeting Wednesday, May 22 at 7:00 pm on Zoom.  Please use the following link to join:  https://ncssm.zoom.us/j/95014002289

All those who submitted an application for Rwanda will automatically be transferred to this trip if they so choose.  If you are interested in joining us on the New Zealand, Australia and the Great Barrier Reef trip, please complete this application.  This does not obligate you to go, applicants will be approved on a first come first serve basis.  

Please let us know if you have any questions. See you Wednesday!


Dr. Wheeler

New York City - Exploring the Culture, Architecture, and History

Greetings Unicorns and Dragons,

Are you interested in traveling to New York City for January Term?   Please complete the survey below before June 3, 2024, at 5:00 pm.  

We will host a Zoom meeting later in June with more information about this exciting opportunity.

NYC J-Term Interest Form

Thank you,

Rob Andrews and Mattie Gaddy-Parks