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Gustavus J-Term 2021: Olympic Quest: Examining the Ancient and Modern Olympics of Greece, Bosnia, and Italy
Athens, Greece; Corinth, Greece; Cortina, Italy; Delphi, Greece; Epidaurus, Greece; Florence, Italy; Napflion, Greece; Olympia, Greece; Pompeii, Italy; Rome, Italy; Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Venice, Italy (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms: January Interim
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Dates / Deadlines:
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Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
January Interim 2021 06/01/2020 06/01/2020 01/04/2021 01/25/2021
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Program Partner:
Gustavus Adolphus College
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Program Term(s):
January Interim
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Minimum GPA:
2.50 Program Design: Faculty led
Program Description:
Program Description:
Stadio dei Marmi Rome
Olympic Quest considers how sport, leisure, and the modern Olympic Games reveal societal and cultural themes and differences.

  • Gain an appreciation of the differences that exist between Greek, Bosnian, and Italian cultures by visiting the countries, meeting the people, and participating in cultural practices
  • Visit, tour, and interact with several former Olympic sites, including Athens (1896 summer, 2004 summer), Sarajevo (1984 winter), Cortina d'Ampezzo (1944 winter and 1956 winter), and Rome (1960 summer)
  • Participate in Olympic sports, including Alpine Skiing
  • Gain an appreciation of the relationship between sport and culture through visits to historical sites
  • Explore the ancient origins of the Olympic Games at sites throughout Greece
  • Course fulfills one of the two IEX credits required for graduation
ParthenonPhoto by Puk Patrick on Unsplash

Olympism is a philosophy of life that promotes balance amongst the mind, body, and spirit by blending sport with culture and education.  Olympism seeks to create a way of life based upon the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility, and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles. To that end, Olympic Quest considers how sport, leisure, and the Olympic Games (both ancient and modern) may inform the participant of societal and cultural themes and differences. Through daily fieldwork, excursions, interaction with guest speakers and guides, reflective journaling practices, course readings, participation in popular sports and leisure activities, and instructor and student-led presentations, participants will have the unique opportunity to examine the intersection of sport and leisure within European society.

LocationsCortina d'Ampezzo vintage post
  • Athens
  • Delphi
  • Corinthia
  • Epidaurus
  • Olympia
  • Sarajevo
  • Cortina
  • Venice
  • Florence
  • Rome
  • Pompeii
Academic Calendar
Expected dates
Fall 2020 TBD: orientation meetings on campus - students who plan to study away in the fall should contact Professor Banks.
Study away arrival date: Jan 4, 2021
Study away return date: Jan 25, 2021

Faculty Leader
Aaron Banks, Health and Exercise Science
An avid traveler and Olympic enthusiast, Aaron Banks has successfully designed multiple J-Term programs around the world and led more than 300 Gustavus students on unique and life changing international study abroad courses. In what will be its tenth offering, Olympic Quest investigates the history of the ancient and modern Olympic Games through a cultural, philosophical, societal, and athletic lens, focusing upon the impact that the Games have had on the development of Western civilization.  A popular course, Olympic Quest has traversed the globe, taking participants to Australia, New Zealand, China, Germany, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, France, England, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Estonia. In the spring of 2015, I was honored to receive the the Ruth Mason Award for Excellence in January Off-Campus Teaching.

Anticipated accommodations will include hotels and youth hostels.

Program Costs
The anticipated program fee be between $6,950 and $7,600, depending on final enrollment and arrangements. The fee includes roundtrip flights from Minneapolis to Europe; all lodging and local transportation in Greece, Bosnia, and Italy; two meals per day; supplemental travel accident and sickness insurance; and instruction, guides, activities, entrance fees and excursions. Students should budget approximately $300 to $400 for one meal per day and personal expenses.

Sarajevo opening ceremony
All Gustavus Adolphus College students who meet the general study away requirements are welcome to apply. 

Application Deadline
Students must complete the online application by May 15, 2020. 

Entry visas and passports
U.S. citizens are allowed visa free visits of up to 90 days in Greece, Bosnia, and Italy. All students who are not U.S. citizens should contact Bryan Messerly about possible additional visa needs. All program participants must have a passport that is valid through at least July 31, 2021, by the start of Fall 2020 semester.
The information in this online brochure is subject to change. Please contact CICE with questions.
ColosseumPhoto by David Köhler on Unsplash

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