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Above, students who traveled to Japan in 2014 with Dr. Kailai Huang took advantage of a photo opportunity with a Japanese samari. Below, from top, Amanda LeBarron ’16 snorkels off the coast of St. Johns in the U.S. Virgin Islands on a biology class trip last year; the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France; and students who participated in the first “Queer San Francisco” trip, in front of the San Francisco Women’s Center.

It’s Time to Think about Travel: Sign Up for 2018 Courses Today!

05/16/17

It’s not too soon to think about a travel course, which features on-site learning during Spring Break 2018. Next year’s options are plentiful and diverse, with courses that will have students headed to the American South, Arizona and San Francisco, Calif., as well as overseas – to Cuba, the Caribbean, England, France and Japan.

The time to sign up for one of these courses with academic travel is now, especially with some filling up quickly.

Dr. David Cupery, assistant professor of political science and public policy, will take a group of students to Cuba. In the classroom, students will learn about Cuba’s post-revolutionary history before coming face-to-face with what they’ve studied through home-stays with Cuban families, interviews with local activists, entrepreneurs and government officials, and visits to sites such as the Bay of Pigs, Havana’s Museo de la Revolución, colonial Trinidad, and the Che Guevara museum and mausoleum. 

Dr. Anne Goodwin, associate professor of biology, will take a marine biology group to the Caribbean to conduct field studies on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. To prepare for the trip, students will learn about tropical marine habitats and organisms and write research grants. On St. John, the students will explore marine habitats, practice field research techniques, and collect data. After the trip, they will analyze their data and present their findings at MCLA’s Undergraduate Research Conference.

For the 10th time, English professor Dr. Rosanne Denhard will take her “The Arts of Medieval and Renaissance Britain” class to London, England. This course has a significant research component, as well as the option of incorporating creative work as it contextualizes the literary arts and their relationship with the visual and performing arts, studying all within the cultural and historical heritage of Great Britain. Many students go on to present their work at the statewide undergraduate research conference and the COPLAC (Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges) undergraduate research conference. In England, Students also will visit York, a city in North Yorkshire with a fascinating Roman, Viking, Medieval, and Renaissance heritage; the medieval-to-modern university city of Cambridge; and the Tudor royal palace and grounds of Hampton Court in Surrey.

Diane Scott, assistant professor of arts management, will offer “Paris and Comparative Cultural Policy.”

“With all the potential changes in the U.S. cultural policy landscape, this timely class will explore the current U.S. structure for arts and culture support and compare it to that a western European country, France,” Scott explained. “Students will put that knowledge in context through a seven-day exploration of the major arts and cultural sites of the city including Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, Versailles, Montmartre and – of course – the Eiffel Tower.”

Those who are enthusiasts of Japanese anime/manga, or simply want to challenge themselves to a dramatically different culture may want to travel with history professor Dr. Kailai Huang to Japan. Students will visit the main island of Honshu, where the ancient capital Kyoto and the world's largest metropolis Tokyo are located. From these two base cities, a high-speed train will reach temple mountains, country trails and castle towns.

In addition to travel outside of the U.S., a variety of trips will take students across America, to the South, Southwest and the West Coast.

History professor Dr. Frances Jones-Sneed and Dr. Ely Janis, associate professor of history, plan to take students on a week-long bus tour of civil rights monuments throughout the American South. First offered to students in 2014, this trip explores the birth place of the Civil Rights Movement through visits to places such as the Tuskegee Air Field and National Museum, Freedom Rides Museum, Historic Edmund Pettus Bridge and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Students interested in environmental studies will have an opportunity explore Southern Arizona for nine days over the spring break. According to Dr. Daniel Shustack, chair of MCLA’s Department of Environmental Studies, students on this trip will visit world-famous birding hot spots like Sonoita Creek and the sky islands, as well as the Santa Catalina Mountains. On this camping trip, participants can expect to wake up each morning to the sound of Cactus Wrens and Curve-billed Thrashers, and fall asleep to the howls of coyotes, as they explore Saguaro National Park and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.  

On the heels of her successful exploration of “Queer San Francisco,” anthropology professor Dr. Sumi Colligan once again will offer this opportunity in 2018. She and her class will explore the ways in which San Francisco evolved into a space with multiple queer cultures, identities, and activist agendas.

Colligan explained, “The travel component of the course will include a visit to a church run by and for queer people and an AIDs hospice founded by a gay Buddhist monk. Moreover, the trip will most likely include meetings with a spokesperson from the Transgender Law Center, a gay and lesbian senior group, and a trans and gender nonconforming youth group.”

Students who are interested in taking a travel course should contact the professor who will teach it. For more information, go to www.mcla.edu/Academics/undergraduate-experience/travelcourses/index.