• Students enjoy some downtime on the US Mexican Border Experience trip.
  • Students make the W with their hands on the US Mexican Border Experience trip.
  • US Mexican Border Experience class photo.
  • Desert Southwest class photo.
  • A student in a Study in the States t-shirt looks out over a canyon.
  • Honors student Emily Stewart holds the W flag on a Study in the States trip.
  • 2022 Walt's Pilgrimage class preparing to hit the road.

Study in the States

A unique program in the Lee Honors College

Study in the States logo which is a graphic of the continental United States and the words Study in the States.

Study in the States offers educational opportunities that take place outside the classroom. Except for the cost of tuition, expenses will be paid by the honors college. All trip descriptions, including dates, are included below. Follow us online using #LHCSIS!

The application deadline has passed.

Selected students will be notified by Dec. 9. 2023. All courses will have an in-person meeting component in addition to the travel dates. 

2024 Study in the States course offerings:


HNRS 4300: US/Mexican Border Awareness Experience
Dates: April 28 through May 5, 2024
This course delves into the culture and the realities of life at the US/Mexican border. It will take place in El Paso, Texas - one of the main entry points into the US for undocumented workers and refugees from Mexico and Central America seeking asylum. You will learn about all facets of migration. You will have the opportunity to tour the border fence, visit the Border Patrol Museum and a migrant farmworker’s center. We hope to visit a detention center, meet with Border Patrol agents and observe immigration court proceedings. We will meet with human rights activists and local non-profit organizations providing legal services to immigrants and refugees. In the spirit of solidarity, we will be completely immersing ourselves in the border culture. That means spending time living and sharing meals with the volunteers and the immigrants and refugees who live in migrant hospitality houses and listening to their stories. Although Spanish language proficiency is not required, this would be a great chance to improve your Spanish skills! You may contact Denise Bowen, an associate professor emerita with the Physician Assistant program for more details. 

HNRS 4300: Idlewild
Dates: April 28 through May 5, 2024
This course discusses and explores the Jim Crow-era resort community, Idlewild. From the mid-1920s to the1960s the resort was pivotal to the African American cultural and leisure experience. This course will examine the effects of capitalism, segregation, desegregation, community abandonment, and revitalization. This Study in the States experience focuses on an era in black history where partnerships led to an entire class of people being given opportunity and access to create a leisure community, commerce, and cultural advancement in a place once considered paradise to many. Contact Dr. Luchara Wallace of the Lewis Walker Institute with questions. 

HNRS 4300: Desert Southwest
Dates: March 1 through 10, 2024
This course is an investigation of the desert southwest and an exploration of culture, archaeology, and ecology. Punctuated by therapeutic soaks in hot springs, we visit the major sites of the Ancestral Pueblo (Anasazi), including Chaco Canyon, Canyon De Chelly, and Mesa Verde. We will study petroglyphs and pictographs, ride horses and hike to remote sites, and frequent remarkable desert mesas and vistas. We will learn through active engagement in an experiential, open-road, instructional pedagogy. Contact Dr. Jeffrey Jones, Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies, with questions.

HNRS 4300: Environmental Philosophy on the Great Lakes
Dates: April 28 through May 5, 2024
This course explores themes in environmental philosophy through Michigan’s Great Lakes. We will travel to Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and (most extensively) Lake Superior in order to conduct these explorations. Our time on the lower peninsula will comprise the study of sand dune ecology at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and the study of light pollution at Mackinaw’s dark park. We will then travel to the Upper Peninsula, staying in Munising, Marquette, and Houghton. On the Upper Peninsula, we will: research shipwrecks; learn about Line 5 and its environmental impacts; study the historical, economic, and ecological significance of iron and copper ore; and discuss forest ecology (at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park). Contact Dr. Fritz Allhoff, Department of Philosophy, with questions.

Summer II:

HNRS 4300:  Walt’s Pilgrimage: A Journey in the Life of Walt Disney
Dates: August 1 though 9, 2024
Travel with honors college and WMU alumnus Dr. Christopher Tremblay to explore the legacy of Walt Disney, beginning in Chicago at Disney’s birthplace and ending in California at his gravesite, taking us cross-country to all of the significant places in Walt’s life. This unique, biographical course will take you from the birth to the death of the famous Walt Disney. This experience is a historical journey about the 60-year life of an individual who left his mark on America in so many ways. Existing museums and buildings bearing Walt’s name will be a part of this one-of-a-kind, nationwide tour. Over the course of our travel, nearly 40 destinations with a connection to Walt will be visited, in chronological order. We will interact with many Disney historians along the way. This course offers an exclusive perspective on Disney, beyond what probably most of us know from our own personal, prior experiences related to him and his Kingdom. Get ready to step inside the wonderful world of Disney! 3 credit hours. Contact Dr. Tremblay, honors college alumnus, with any questions. This course is open to all majors.