Marine Studies Program in Mystic Past Review

By (Political Science and Government., Wellesley College) for

Williams College: Mystic - Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Absolutely a worthwile education. Maritime politics and environmental impacts mirror that of the world, and the interdisciplinary approach connected all of the dots. I have also made lifelong friends, and great contacts for a career.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Spring 2010

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The field seminars were a great way to meet the professors on a very personal level, and although not graded where one of the best part of the experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The office staff were the most wonderful people. They were in charge of everything from mail, to snacks, to making sure the lunch orders got in on time. I cannot express how helpful they were in working with my college's financial aide, and with making us feel welcome and loved.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in the old Mallory House. After this semester Mallory House will be moved to the building that used to be called Labaree (and the building that used to be Labaree will be moved to Dickerman). Our house was falling apart (which will no longer be a problem) but was well equiped with cooking equipment ecetera. <br /><br /> All of the houses are close together which is great for parties, and for getting to class. The houses were all well equipped, including free laundry. There were even spices in the kitchen from previous semesters. Living with other students in a cooperative environment can be challenging, but as long as the students have a defined cleaning, and eating schedule, everything will work out fine.

* Food:

Eat house gets $50 per person per week. Shopping was a challenge, as people have different taste in food, and some houses did not have enough money. I would choose to stick with A&P because it is cheaper. My house was also challenged in that some of the students did not know how, or did not enjoy cooking where as other students were enthusiastic. Some houses chose to each fend for themselves. Another problem that arose was that 2/4 houses had vegetarian/non-red meat eaters, complicating matters further. This is different every semester, some semesters have vegetarian households. Barbeques with other houses are great ways to get meals, ect. If students are going to eat out, the Mystic Soup Co. is a great great place to get a warm meal...mmmm. Drawbridge icecream is also great.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The culture is no different from a traditional college. Mystic is a great town for running, and the student run parties were great. Inviting other houses or the faculty/staff for dinner is a great opportunity to get to know them on a more personal dinner. The drinking songs night with Don Cinetti and Mike was pretty cool as was sleeping on the Charles W. Morgan. The german club offers dancing if anyone is into contra dancing. I tended not to go to Conn College as there was plenty to do in Mystic.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Mystic is extremely safe, none of the other hosues ever locked their doors. When one student injured her knee (playing frisbee) a staff member and I took her to the hospital. It was an average American hospital and Jim (the program Director) and the other professors were very understanding and helpful regarding the injury and follow ups.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I personally spend about $5 a week on ice cream and occasionally other items. It is the same as an American college.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You can get fowlies and check out some of the books from the Mystic library. Do invest in good foul weather boots though, as the boots will be useful throughout the semester. If you are going to invest in pants for the offshore trip forget about quick drying. Go with Carhartt's (dungaree front). They will be useful if you have any field work for your science project to.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

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  • Other
* Who did you live with?

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  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

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  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't think that this is a break from your home institution, but come to WM if you are enthusiastic, and energectic. There was a great mix of people who were independent and secure in themselves.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Marine Policy

Course Department:
Instructor: Katy Robinson Hall
Instruction Language: Language
Comments: This course was a challenging course, it required quite a bit of reading but it only met once a week. The New Bedford field seminar and the Louisiana seminar (including the oil spill only a few weeks later) were very useful for this class. While their was a lot of reading, and a 20 page research paper, the class itself was fun. I loved this class the most (as a political science major) and felt that the teacher always related the lecture to our personal experiences. While Katy may seem abraisive she is always available during office hours and she is not trying to trick any of the students. Even the students who were initially scared by the course left feeling accomplished and more educated about the marine environment. I participated in the class an equal amount as I would have at my home institution.
Credit Transfer Issues: This course transferred towards my major.
Course Name/Rating:

Maritime History

Course Department:
Instructor: Glenn Gordinier
Instruction Language: English
Comments: At first, this course felt like a high school history course. It began with coming to the new world, and focused on the importance of the sea to the new world's economy and war's. The course was interesting, and did a great job connecting the success of the American west and manifest destine with a maritime culture. Glenn's strengths were in presenting an object and explaining the significance in history and in modern America. The research paper was also a great opportunity to examine a topic in depth, and added to the interest level of the class. The walking tour of Stonington and the walking tour of the Pacific Northwest were great opportunities to learn history in an active engaging setting. Glenn is not the most timely professor, and classes tended to run over.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department:
Instructor: Diane Bennet
Instruction Language:
Comments: Diane Bennet was not the regular teacher for this course, the other oceanography teacher was out on Maternity leave. Despite Diane being a new, young professor she was actively engaged in the class. She spent countless hours helping me with my research project outside class. I am not a science major, and felt that the class balanced science majors (and indepth information) with a broad overview of the marine environment. While the class covered most aspects of marine life, the field seminars helped balance the class and give it a focus. The tests were focused on explaining concepts and not on fact oriented information. I thought that it was a fair class and a good balance given the diverse student body.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Maritime Literature

Course Department:
Instructor: Richard King
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course covered many major works of maritime literature (such as Moby Dick) but also brought forth some unexpected gems (Searoad by Ursala LeGuin). I loved the journal assignment and the interactive nature of the class. Rich was a thoughtful guy and always available to help students outside of class. The lecture/discussion format provided great insights into different interpertation of the works and encouraged class participation. For a literature course, this course was not heavy on writing and had mostly short papers.
Credit Transfer Issues: