California ~ Study Away Program (PSY/PLS/SOC 249 + US domain) header

Diversity in the US: Borders, Fences, and Walls




Dr. Kathie Shiba | Professor of Psychology, Chair, Division of Behavioral Sciences |  | (865) 981-8270

Dr. Shiba has led or co-led travel programs in the U.S. and abroad.  Learn more

Dr. Frances Henderson | Associate Professor of Political Science | frances.henderson | (865) 981-8219

Dr. Henderson regularly leads students on programs in Ghana.  Learn more

Course Description:

Incorporating a significant regional travel component to California, students will examine both historical and current factors that influence the treatment of people of color in the United States. Specifically, we will examine the experiences of people’s lived realities along the Mexican-USA border and during the internment of Japanese heritage families because of the 1942 Executive Order 9066. Both the internment of Japanese heritage families and contemporary lived realities on the USA-Mexican border afford students the opportunity to explore basic human rights issues, the impact of immigration and/or internment on family dynamics, immigration, imprisonment, and civil rights. We strive to facilitate interactions with the people, places, organizations, and institutions that students may not otherwise have the opportunity to engage and experience. The course incorporates travel to major cities in California: San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Site visits include Angel Island Immigration Station, the Japanese American National Museum and Little Tokyo, Parque de la Amistad (Friendship Park), Border Angels, San Ysidro (busiest land border crossing in the world), and Center for US-Mexican Studies in La Jolla (UCSD). NOTE: We will not cross the border into Mexico. The course includes both pre- and post-travel course work requiring reading, researching, and presenting.   



This program will carry 3 credits. Selected students will be enrolled in a May-term class. Program will be cross-listed as 

  • PLS 249
  • PSY 249
  • SOC 249
  • *this course will carry the US designation for the US Pluralism domain.

Pre-Requisites: PSY101 or SOC101, or permission of instructors

May 2019 (tentative itinerary and a few highlights)
  • This  may be your ultimate California road trip!  Visit three of the most famous places in California and earn Maryville College Credit!

  • May 6-7: Pre-travel Classes
  • May 8-11: SAN FRANCISCO
  • Come visit and explore the Bay Area. San Francisco, the City by the Bay, not only offers beautiful views of the San Francisco Bay, but an abundance of fun and cultural experiences. 
  • Course-related excursions to: 
  • - Angel Island Immigration Station 
  • May 12-14: LOS ANGELES
  • "Welcome to California’s liveliest city, entertainment capital of America, with megastar wattage and nonstop activities.  The main hub is the City of Los Angeles, with legendary Hollywood northwest of downtown, the San Fernando Valley to the east, and the inviting beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu to the west."
  • Discover different sides to this city than you might see on TV.
  • Course-related excursions to:
  • - As a National Historic Landmark District, Little Tokyo has a unique variety of historical, cultural, shopping, and food destinations to give you a taste of Japan, as well as the Japanese American experience. As one of the three official Japan-towns in the United States, this is the hub of Japanese Americans.
  • May 15-19: SAN DIEGO
  • Centrally located in the heart of the beautiful Southern California coastline, San Diego's 70 miles of coastline and reliably sunny weather draw people from all over the world.  If that isn't enough, the city is known for  a world-renowned zoo, museums,  as well as great food, shopping and nightlife in the historic downtown quarter. 
  • Course-related excursions to:
  • - Friendship Park / Parque de la Amistad
  • - Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies
  • - UCSD
  • - Guest Speaker: Alumna Betsabe Roman (international student from Mexico)
  • May 20-21: Post-travel Classes


Approximate Costs: $2185.00 (estimate)

The price includes: 

  • Tuition
  • Roundtrip airfare
  • Local transportation
  • Accommodation
  • 1 pre and 1 post meal
  • Cultural Experiences & Field Trips
  • Guest Speakers
  • $100 Application fee + $200 Deposit

Not included: 

  • Meals 
  • Personal expenses 

*Please note that prices are tentative and may fluctuate based on  number of participants, price fluctuations in actual airfares and fuel surcharges, or administrative overhead

How it Works:

  • Travel with two expert MC faculty members 
  • Travel with a group of Maryville students on a short term U.S-based Study Away program
  • 3 academic credits
  • This is an interactive learning experience. You are not sitting in a classroom, but learning about the course topic with the destination as your classroom.
  • May-term course & travel

Who can participate?

You! Study Away programs are open to sophomores, juniors and seniors.  This program will admit approx.  12-16 students.

Registration & Application:

Please follow the below instructions to apply for a Study Away program.  Do not miss our application deadlines!


Selection will be conducted by the faculty leaders. Selection decisions are based upon the entire application packet: application, essay, references, GPA, student conduct, etc. In addition, faculty leaders look for a match between the student's goals and the goals of the programs.  The selection process varies by program, however applicants should be prepared for an interview as part of the acceptance process.

Special Considerations: 

Significant walking and standing will be required.

Get More Information:

  • Program Information Meeting: Meetings will take place during Spring 2018 and early Fall 2018 (Watch Today@MC for information)
  • Talk to Faculty Leaders about the program you are interested in.


Tentative Timeline:

  • Application Available

    Friday, September 1

    Apply Online

    Application Deadline

    Monday, October 22 @ 12noon

    Application must be submitted by 12noon

    Interviews Begin

    Wednesday, October 3 – Friday, October 26

    All students will interview with the faculty leader(s) 

    Notification of Acceptance 

    Monday, November 5

    Via email before 5:00pm

    Confirmation of Acceptance Due

    November 12, Noon

    Confirmation of acceptance with $200 deposit due by 12noon

    Payment 1 Due

    Monday, December 10, Noon

    50% of Payment due (Full balance may be paid at this time) before 12noon.

    Final Payment Due

    February 1, Noon

    Remaining balance due

    Program Specific Pre-Departure Orientation


    As determined by faculty leaders.



Study Away Application + $100 Fee  Due October 22

Deposit of $200 Fee with Confirmation of Acceptance:    Due November 12