In case you didn’t know, ENC is located approximately 9 miles south of Boston. On the Red Line, it takes about a half hour to get into downtown. And now, ENC is taking advantage of its location to offer a study “abroad” program called the Boston Semester.
The Boston Semester is an annual 12-credit/3-class study abroad program that will allow participants to learn the culture and history of the city of Boston through museum trips, sailing, kayaking on the Charles River, and other adventures. Of course, some work will be done in the classroom, but this program will allow students to experience Boston’s past rather than just read about it.
Regardless of whether you have already experienced all the tourist attractions Boston has to offer, the Boston Semester teaches past the scope of tourism.
“In one of the classes, we look really carefully at colonial history as it comes out of Massachusetts Bay. And that history is really maritime history, a history of sea going people… the Puritans and the people who did business with them, they understood their history through the prism of water,” Dr. Ben Cater, director of Boston Semester and assistant professor of history, said. “So, we’re renting a sailboat, like a 40-foot schooner, and we’re going to have a couple lectures on colonial history while we’re on board, and here you’re sailing Massachusetts Bay studying Boston history. It can’t get more hands-on than that.”
Boston Semester is unique because it gives students around the U.S. the opportunity to study a historic city in a Christian context, without the worry of passports or international flights, and at an affordable cost of $15,000 (or $11,250 for Nazarene students).
“[Boston Semester] will definitely draw students from across the country like any program would,” Cater said. “But on the other side, it’s open to any ENC student [as long as] they fit the qualifications. We are really trying to recruit our own ENC students to be a part of that, because the whole intellectual climate of the school is now aimed at Boston.”
Without being a part of the program, ENC students are still able to take any of the classes offered in the program as electives, or even to fulfill general education requirements or requirements within their major.
The professors of the Boston Semester include Cater, Dr. Donald Yerxa of the History Department, and Dr. Karen Henck and professor Kathleen McCann of the Language, Theatre, and Communication Arts Department.
Cater has personally advertised and marketed this program at other Nazarene colleges and universities around the U.S. to create awareness and interest in the program. In one week alone, the Boston Semester Facebook page received 29,000 hits.
The idea for Boston Semester came from Dr. Randall Stephens, a past professor in the History Department. Cater was hired to revamp and direct the program. Boston Semester is set to launch with a pilot in May of 2014, and officially begin in the Fall of 2014.