By Charlotte Kugler '14
This year, MHC's Intercession/January Term once again provided students with a variety of opportunities for enrichment and learning beyond their regular academic classes. Although courses are no longer offered for credit, there remained more than 30 stimulating choices ranging from creative writing, to Scottish highland dance, to bread baking.
Workshops also included Acting for French, an intensive course open to all students with a background in French, especially those interested in theatre. Charles Mayer (at right), a Montreal resident and actor who plays "Robert" alongside "Mireille" in the French in Action films used in MHC's French classes, ran the workshop over a period of five days.
Acting for French allowed French students to practice and strengthen their oral skills by engaging in roleplay, skits, and presentations with each other. The workshop appealed to students interested in theatre as well because of the emphasis on performance.
French language instructor Catherine Bloom and visiting lecturer Carolyn Shread both worked hard over the past year to create this opportunity. Having met Mayer at the 25th French in Action reunion at Yale, they followed him up on his offer to run a theatre workshop for French students at MHC and from the Five Colleges.
While collaboration among all participants is essential, Bloom also explained how she hoped the course would especially benefit French students.
"The work students do is individual, and this allowed each actor to develop a unique interpretation of their characters," she said.
Another workshop offered over Intersession, Money Matters! Creating a Strategy for Financial Success, offered valuable skills for managing finances to students as preparation for life after graduation. The course emphasized the importance of financial independence.
Facilitator Gail Holt, MHC's senior associate director of Student Financial Services, along with instructor Sean Capaloff-Jones from the UMass Five College Credit Union, provided participants with strategies for personal budget planning and protecting oneself from identity theft, along with teaching basic principles of investment.
Holt said she and her colleagues in Student Financial Services often speak with students about financial concerns and find that many young women have minimal knowledge when it comes to managing money. As a result, the department wanted to expand this critical knowledge by offering workshops such as Money Matters.
The Intersession course generated more interest in financial matters among the participants, which Holt believes "highlights a need among students as they achieve a well-rounded education at MHC."
"I hope students will feel more confident about their financial literacy and will be empowered with the tools to ensure a solid credit foundation," she said.