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Adventure, Sun, and Island Fun: Take Summer Classes by the Sea!

Isles of Shoals

If you love the connection of face-to-face classes, but have trouble fitting them into your schedule, consider taking one of our summer classes at the Isles of Shoals.

These courses follow an intensive format, with the bulk of your work taking place during a  four-day, three-night stay on New Hampshire's beautiful Star Island in the Isles of Shoals. Prior to the intensive, your class will meet face-to-face at the Rochester campus. Following, most classes will have a final project that you'll complete. For the Summer 2019 term, we are offering three bachelor's-level Isles of Shoals courses: Creative Writing, Effecting Positive Change in Organizations, Natural History of Northern New England.

There are a few Isles of Shoals traditions that the students and instructors always enjoy during their weekend away.

Highlights: Isles of Shoals Intensives

Family Style Meals
Star Island classmates at Granite State College

Participants in all three classes will break bread together for group meals. As busy working students, it's hard to get to know your classmates outside of the classroom discussion, and the group meals serve as a great way to make authentic one-on-one connections. This setting is always a big highlight of the experience, especially the annual lobster dinner that typically takes place on the final night.

Connection to the Environment
Star Island student at Granite State College.

The courses we offer at the Isles of Shoals are offered for a reason: the environment enhances what you're learning. The seascape will inspire students in Introduction to Watercolor.

Faculty member Chris Benedetto, a "veteran" Isles of Shoals instructor, will once again teach Maritime History.

He shares:
It's a rare opportunity to teach the topic of maritime history in the midst of such a historically rich and naturally beautiful location as the Isles of Shoals.

Past student, Mallory Frizzell adds:
During the course, you experience a week of real-life ghost stories that actually happened right under your feet! It's an incredible class and an incredible experience. It gives you so much appreciation for the island and a taste of history that you never would have known about. Chris is one of the most passionate teachers I've had. He loves this genre of history and in turn, made all of us just as interested in the topic.

Lectures on the Porch
Star Island class lecture at Granite State College.

The historical Oceanic Hotel has hosted countless Granite State College lectures during Star Island courses. When the sun is shining, expect your instructor to move the group out of the classroom and onto the picturesque front porch for a lively class discussion.


Building Bonds
Star Island students having fun

Since many Granite State students lead busy lives, the Isles of Shoals classes offer a few days to disconnect from your daily schedule.

Chris Benedetto shares:
It's rewarding and refreshing for the mind and soul. Spending so much time together on the island seems to be a bonding experience for everyone involved. Each of my classes has forged friendships that enhanced the educational experience and lasted beyond the few but incredibly rewarding days of our class.

Lasting Memories
Star Island scenery during course at Granite State College.

In 2014, Chris Benedetto's class learned sea shanties that would have been sung by sailors on whaling ships and merchant vessels from New England during the 19th century. The tune "Cape Cod Girls," became a favorite among the class.

After learning the song on a beautiful sunny, morning we climbed into the skiffs on Star Island and began rowing across the mirror-like water towards our destination: the legendary Smuttynose Island. Soon the sound of my class singing "Cape Cod Girls" in unison echoed across Gosport Harbor in rhythm with the splash of the oars dipping into the salt water as the gulls soared overhead. For a few brief magical moments, we sailed into history itself. We had joined the generations of intrepid and curious people who have crossed those same waters to explore the Isles of Shoals for thousands of years. This was such a special moment as my class celebrated New England's maritime heritage while we enjoyed a unique experience that only the Isles of Shoals can provide.

Course Details

If you're interested in this experience, consider a recommendation from a student, Mallory Frizzell:

In my opinion Isles of Shoals courses are one of the College's best assets and I'm looking forward to my class this summer!

Registration opens for summer classes on May 1, 2019. Classes begin first week of July 8, 2019. Then intensive portion of the Isles of Shoals experience runs September 2-5.

ENG 604 | Creative Writing
CRN:  40623

MGMT 620 | Effecting Positive Change in Organizations
CRN: 40624

SCI 528 | Natural History of Northern New England
CRN:  40625

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Editors Note: this post was originally published in May 2016 and has been updated to reflect the latest line-up of Isles of Shoals summer courses offered by Granite State College.