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2024 Travel Seminars

On a Drake travel seminar, students can explore the world alongside their fellow Bulldogs and professors. Travel seminars run during J-Term or summer and are typically between one to three weeks in length. Past program locations have included Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia and Oceania, Europe, and the Middle East. If you are finding it difficult to fit a semester study abroad experience into your program—due to time constraints, financial obstacles, or personal reasons—this may be an excellent option for you. With your Drake community by your side, you’ll develop new relationships with fellow Drake students and professors, and create long-lasting memories that will serve you long after your time abroad.

 Where Will You Go?? 

Your J-Term, your choice.

Drake J-Term Travel Seminar Information


What is a travel seminar?

A travel seminar is a short-term Drake faculty-led course that travels to either international or domestic locations. The courses are usually comprised of 10 to 20 Drake students and are between one and three weeks in length during the month of January. J-Term travel seminars are 3-credit courses, many of which include a Drake AOI designation.

How to View J-Term Travel Seminars and APPLY!

  1. Go to Terra Dotta.
  2. Click on Programs in the left-top corner of the screen in the black bar across the top of the page.
  3. In the Simple Search section, under Term, use the dropdown and choose J-term, then click the blue button at the bottom of the page, Search.
  4. Under Program search results, all Drake J-term Travel Seminars are listed first with an * and Star.  Under Program search results, click on the program you are interested in learning more about. You can learn more about different types of programs on the study abroad website.
  5. Review travel seminar program specific information. If you are ready to apply click the blue Apply Now button on the right side of the page.
  6. Log in with your Drake ID and password to start the application.

*Please note: applications for J-Term 2024 travel seminars will open in Terra Dotta on March 8 during the J-Term 2024 Fair. The priority deadline for all travel seminars is Friday, April 7. Programs that have not filled will be re-opened after April 7, and new deadline will be set (TBD).

Minimum Requirements

All travel seminar participants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and pass a disciplinary check. Additionally, some seminars have program specific requirements; acceptance criteria for each course will be listed in Terra Dotta when applying.

Application Process

Start your J-Term travel seminar application in Drake’s online portal Terra Dotta. Use your Drake ID number and password to login and apply for a program. For more details, see above.

  • April 7 is the priority deadline to apply for a Drake J-Term travel seminar
  • Students can apply for up to two J-Term travel seminar programs, but will only be able to commit to one
  • Acceptance criteria for each course will be listed in Terra Dotta when applying. If criteria is not noted for the course you apply to, the default criteria is Student Classification (first preference given to graduate students, then seniors, then juniors, then sophomores).
  • Students should rank their applications (if applying to more than one program), so Drake can see which program the student prefers. Drake will accept students to the first program of their choice, unless the program is full, then we will accept the student to their second choice. Acceptance is contingent on course availability.
  • Students who meet the priority deadline and apply by April 7, will be notified of their application(s) status (accepted, waitlisted, or denial) on April 21.
  • Students are given two weeks or less to commit to the program in Terra Dotta and pay a $500 deposit
  • You will NOT and should no apply, register, or withdraw from the travel seminar course through MyDusis. Once you are committed to a travel seminar, Drake's Global Engagement office will register you (and withdraw you, if needed) through the Registrar's Office. Students apply for travel seminars through Terra Dotta: 

Timeline and Payment Schedule

  • March 8: Applications open in Terra Dotta during the J-Term 2024 Fair. Students can now view and apply for J-term 2024 programs.
  • Friday, April 7: Priority deadline
  • Friday, April 21: Notification of acceptance, waitlist or denial
  • Friday, May 5: $500 deposit due and committing to program
  • Friday, September 1: program cost due in full


Students apply for Drake travel seminar scholarships by completing the “Global Learning Scholarship Application” form in Terra Dotta as part of their application. Applications will be reviewed based on the quality of their essay and based on financial need, except the Levin Scholarship which is not financial need based.

Outside scholarship sources for international experiences can be found at:


For questions about your specific travel seminar, contact the course instructor. For general study abroad questions or issues with Terra Dotta, contact

Australia: Equity & Access in Society

EDUC 199: Equity & Access in Society

Instructor(s): DeDe Small & Lindsay Woodward


Course Description:

As Drake students, we are all global citizens and participants in democratic processes.  This travel course will explore and evaluate issues of access and equity in Australia and the United States. Areas of focus include Indigenous populations, education, popular culture, government, and the environment. We will spend time in Sydney and Port Douglas, visit the Blue Mountains and the Great Barrier Reef, and learn from service organizations, government officials, and Aboriginal educators as we consider our role in working for the common good locally, nationally, and internationally. 

Other Program Details: 

Costa Rica: Communication and Tourism Analysis

BUS 105: Communication and Tourism Analysis

Instructors: Dr. Amy Grace Vaughan and Dr. Brian Vander Naald


Course Description:

This course focuses on the development of business presentation skills required to be successful in today’s dynamic business environment. These presentations will incorporate information from researching local tourism sites and their respective industries. The cultural impact of the country's indigenous people as well as other environmental factors of this largely marine environment coastal region will be researched. Their economic and social contributions will also be evaluated. An emphasis on continual learning, practice, and improvement will be facilitated through faculty feedback and coaching. Student-professionals will demonstrate how to develop and deliver a variety of professional informative presentations in multiple settings to diverse audiences. Students will also demonstrate how to successfully collaborate with others in group presentation situations.

Other Program Details:

Cuba & Mexico: Caribbean Dreams

SPN 151 or WLC 150: Caribbeans Dreams

Instructors: Dr. Eduardo García-Villada & Doreen Dixon


Course Description:

"Caribbean Dreams: Mérida and Havana" examines the cultural perspectives of the Spanish-speaking countries of the Caribbean region through reflections on readings, films, field site visits, ethnographic observation, guest lectures, and facilitated discussion/reflection. The course will introduce students to critical analysis for understanding social, economic, artistic, intellectual, and political aspects of these countries and build global awareness. Students will learn historic and current themes that inform Caribbean national and transnational identities such as colonialism, race and ethnic identities, language politics, popular culture, religion, migration, and social movements.

Two strands of this course will be offered, English (WLC 150) and Spanish (SPAN 151), for students with and without Spanish language experience.  The course fulfills two AOIs: Global and Cultural Understanding, and Historical Foundations.

Other Course Details:

Ecuador and the Galapagos: History and the Environment

ENSS 111; HIST 091: History and the Environment in Ecuador and the Galapagos

Instructors: David Courard-Hauri & Karen Leroux


Course Description: 

In Ecuador, we will investigate ecological conservation and tourism in one of the most geologically and ecologically diverse regions of the world. Students will explore aspects of sustainable development and environmental justice through an intense immersion experience. We will compare our daily experiences with our lived experiences in Iowa and the Midwest. In general, discussion topics will include tropical ecology, the politics of land use, and the interaction between economic development and sustainability. We will visit high Andean and tropical rainforest ecosystems near Quito and isolated island and marine ecosystems in the Galapagos Islands, discussing both the natural and social history of the region. 

Other Course Details:

England: Theatre History in London

THEA 120T: Theatre History in London

Instructors: John Pomeroy & Josie Poppen


Course Description: 

In this 3-credit course we will look at the literature and practice of the theatre from the point of view of the society in which it operated. We will examine how theatre reflects the assumptions of a culture and how theatre artists use their medium to express their belief or disbelief in those systems. This class will cover theatre from the Ancient Greeks to Jacobean Theatre in England. Through an immersion in the theatrical culture of London, and the historical sites we will visit (ancient and modern), we will be able to get a full understanding of the role theatre has played and continues to play in our culture and society.

Other Course Details:

Germany, Czech Republic, and Poland: Heritage and Holocaust

INTD 099 / HIST 090: Heritage and Holocaust

Instructors: Gesine Gerhard and Dorothy Pisarski


Course Description: 

Millions of people, Jews and non-Jews, perished during the Holocaust. To the extent we can better know the details of this era, we can develop a sense of honor for the past and a vision for an honorable future. This three-credit immersive course is designed to bring history, religion, ethics and culture into focus within the context of the Holocaust. Students will spend around two weeks in Germany, Czechia, and Poland, visiting remains of Nazi concentration camps, speaking with persons who carry on family and community narratives of the Holocaust, and visiting cultural, historical and contemporary sites. Our destinations include Dachau, Terezin, Lidice, Auschwitz, and Birkenau, and major cities including Munich, Nuremberg, Prague, Warsaw, and Krakow.

Other Course Details:

Ghana: Drake Experience Ghana DrakeX GH

JMC 199: Drake Experience Ghana DrakeX GH

Instructors: Eric Kwame Adae & Lakshmi Tirumala


Course Description: 

This course offers students a chance to explore, experience, and learn through active participation how media and communication-related professions, specifically Public Relations and Digital Media Production, are practiced in a significantly different sociocultural environment. Through various activities such as reading scholarly articles, attending guest lectures, on-site visits, journaling, and recording important daily events, students will learn to compare and contrast the functioning of media in Ghana.

Other Course Details: 

Hawaii: Understanding Diverse Populations

COUN 145/245: Understanding Diverse Populations

Instructors: Matt Bruinekool & Jill Johnson


Course Description: Learn about the history of mental illness and how a Clubhouse Model of treatment is more respectful of people across different cultures. Travel to Kauai and spend 11 days learning about the history of Hawaii, how mental illness is viewed within the Hawaiian culture, and about Friendship House (A Clubhouse). In addition to engaging in experiential learning activities at Friendship House students will travel around the island visiting museums, historical landmarks, and towns learning about the history of Hawaii and impact of U.S. occupation, tourism, and globalization on the Hawaiian culture as a better way to gain a multicultural perspective on mental illness.

Other Course Details:

  • AOIs: Historical Foundations & Global and Cultural Understanding 
  • Pricing, program details, and dates can be found on Terra Dotta.  

Click here to apply to this program in Terra Dotta. 

Italy: Art and Anatomy in Renaissance Italy: the Birthplace of Modern Medicine

BIO 145: Art and Anatomy in Renaissance Italy: the Birth of Modern Medicine

Instructors: Debora Christense & Adina Kilpatrick


Course Description: 

Visit the heart of Renaissance Italy, where cultural, religious, and societal forces collided to transform both art and medical education forever! By traveling to Rome, Florence, Assisi, Padua, and Venice, students will discover how artistic representation of the human body changed over time, and how art and artists themselves risked everything as they transformed the scientific exploration and understanding of human anatomy. Site visits include ancient Roman ruins, including the Pantheon and Colosseum, the Vatican & St. Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Borghese, Bargello and Uffizi Galleries, Catacombs of St. Sebastian and ossuary shrines, Duomo of Florence, Assisi, Museum of the History of Medicine, and the oldest anatomical dissection theaters and anatomical wax museums in the world. Students will view first-hand the works of artists such as Michaelangelo, da Vinci, Caravaggio, Giotto, Botticelli, Raphael, Brunelleschi, Bernini, and Artemesia Gentileschi, and discuss the influences of Aristotle, Hippocrates, Galen, and Vesalius. 3 of the most fun credits you will ever earn in college. Artistic Literacy AOI pending.

Other Course Details:

Washington, D.C. and New York City:  Perspectives and Experiences of U.S. American Culture: An Intercultural Lens

INTD 112: Perspectives and Experiences of U.S. American Culture: An Intercultural Lens

Instructor(s): Kendra Hossain-Morehead & Jazlin Coley-Smith

Course Description: 

This course will focus on intercultural development and a broader understanding of the U.S. cultural context. Much of the learning process will be centered around personal experiences and U.S. national context, supplemented by visits to national cultural and historical sites. Course work will involve personal reflections, group discussions and debriefs, and a culminating project. The goal is for half of the group to be international students and half of the group to be U.S. American students.

Other Course Details:

India (PIMS): Special Topics in Health Systems*

HSCI 147: International Health Topics

Instructor: Pramod Mahajan


Course Description: This Health Care focused course combines international internship and service learning experiences with pre and post readings, discussions, and reflections in order to maximize student learning, increase student awareness of cultural issues, and increase personal growth related to working in a Low-to-Middle Income Country.  Student will build skills in life-long learning, values and ethics, critical thinking, communication and collaboration. Permission of the instructor needed to register.​

*This is a travel course, not seminar. It does not follow the travel seminar model, and is a specialized CPHS course offered through our Exchange Partner: Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS)
Questions?  Contact Pramod Mahajan, College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences


Other Course Details:

  • Registration Note: Contact Prof. Mahajan if interested in applying for the course.  
  • Pricing, program details, and dates can be found on Terrra Dotta.  

Click here to apply for the program in Terra Dotta.

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