Mayterm 2025 Israel Mayterm

So maybe you’ve known about the Bible all your life...But have you ever hiked from Jerusalem to Jericho? Seen Mt. Zion? Taken a boat across the Sea of Galilee?

This Mayterm is designed to get you out of the classroom and into the real space of Israel’s story. For three weeks home base will be just outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem at Jerusalem University College (JUC)--one day a week in the classroom; six days a week on the road.

You’ll travel south to the ancient city of Arad, see the Makhtesh Ramon, and visit the Nabatean city of Avdat. You’ll hike Masada at sunrise, float in the Dead Sea, and visit the breathtakingly beautiful spring of Ein Gedi where David and his men hid from Saul. You’ll visit the Jezreel valley where Deborah and Barak fought Sisera, climb Mt. Carmel where Elijah stood down the prophets of Baal, visit the Philistine city of Ashkelon, and climb on the Roman Aqueduct at Caesarea. Your third field trip is to the Sea of Galilee where Jesus and his disciples lived out their ministry. Here you’ll stand on the mountain where Jesus charged his followers with the “Great Commission” and hike down Mt. Arbel (complete with climbing cabels). At last, we will turn toward the northern reaches of the Golan where the snow clad slopes of Mt. Hermon animate the skyline, and the UN forces protect the barbed-wire and bunkers of the modern border. In each of these sites you will explore for yourself the real space of Israel past and present.

Coursework & JUC Program

Students will spend approximately 20 hours prior to departure working through the narratives of the biblical text geographically. You will identify the topography, soil, and waterways of the “holy land” on military-grade maps, and then map out the stories you have come to know so well in real space and time.

Upon arriving in Israel, the encounter begins. With your home base at Jerusalem University College, you will hike all of these mapped spaces and engage in on-site lectures regarding the people and events who occupied them. You will visit archaeological sites and museums in order to see the actual artifacts of Israel’s history. On your free days you will join the crowds in the Old City, interacting with Orthodox Jews from all over Europe, devout Muslims, Armenian Christians who survived the genocide(s) and Christians of every flavor imaginable. The William F. Albright Institute, the hub of archaeology in the region, is just up Saladin Street as is St. George’s, an Anglican parish and school long committed to the Arab Christians of the city. You will be evaluated based on your enthusiastic (and pleasant!) participation in all aspects of the program.

RS 155 will fulfill GE Thinking Globally and GE Thinking Historically, as well as RS elective credit. Prerequisites: RS-001 Introduction to Old Testament; RS-010 Introduction to New Testament. Contact Professor Richter if you have questions about the prerequisites or cannot fulfill both by Mayterm.

Class schedule available HERE.

Course syllabus available HERE.


JUC’s program is academically and physically rigorous, including up to twelve hour days in the field or longer. The field studies involve hours of walking, standing, and several hikes (although some are optional). There are usually opportunities to sit throughout the day and plenty of time on the bus. However, students should expect an intensely physical program and plan to sweat.

For more information about The Geographical & Historical Settings of the Bible click HERE

In fulfillment of PEA 94, six days a week students will engage in group physical activities including urban tours, hiking up and climbing down the mountains of Israel, swimming in the Sea of Galilee, desert hikes, and scrambling through ancient ruins in order to truly experience the landscape of the holy land. They will learn how to thoughtfully care for the bodies in the midst of intense exercise while also being encouraged to reflect on how their physical experience informs and deepens their understanding of Scripture. This physical engagement will result in greater insight into the biblical text (e.g. Psalm 121:5—“the Lord is your shade at your right hand”) and develop greater empathy for characters in the Bible who wandered the same landscapes thousands of years before. Students will also be expected to engage in independent physical activities in their free time. Throughout the weeks of Mayterm they will be given the opportunity to develop healthy lifestyle habits, such as consistently seeking options for life-giving exercise, healthy eating, and diligently tracking their physical activity in a log. When staying in JUC, they will have access to the college’s weight room, basketball court, and lawn games.

journeying at gezer


  • Class standing
  • GPA (minimum 2.3 gpa for eligibility)
  • Application and essays
  • Personal and faculty recommendations

Program Criteria

In addition to the general qualifications above, the following requirements must be met, with or without reasonable accommodation, in order to complete all essential elements of the program. All participants must be able to:

  • Participate in regular communal meals based on a local diet and with limited control over food choices.
  • Tolerate local diet with limited control over food choices in most locations.
  • Anticipate possible exposure to peanut or other food allergens.
  • Navigate multiple irregular surfaces and walk/travel up to 10 miles in a day independently. (Extensive walking, as well as travel throughout ancient cities and towns with narrow passageways and many stairs, is part of the daily life of the program.)
  • Navigate carrying personal items including suitcase and/or backpack without assistance.
  • Anticipate having sufficient emotional wellness to fully participate in the program safely and successfully despite the limited availability of frequent access to psychological services.
  • Anticipate at least double occupancy accommodations on some if not all locations.
  • Receive the final dose of the Covid vaccine at least two weeks prior to the commencement of the program. 

Cost & Dates

Approx. $5300 + Airfare (includes tuition, room, board, and in-country travel.) Students will be responsible for round trip airfare and on campus housing charges, if requested, for the two days of classes prior to departure. The program on site will run May 7-June 2, 2024.


Now accepting applications for Spring 2024. For more info about the program, contact Dr. Richter at