Traveling to a country outside of the United States can sound like a dream come true to any college student; however, there’s often a large workload and responsibility that comes with postsecondary education. College administrators and professors are constantly looking for ways to make education for their students more fruitful and interesting.
Over the course of Concordia’s spring break, three student trips are being taken. Two of the classes are considered to be a PEAK (Pivotal Experience in Applied Knowledge), and one trip is embedded into a class.
The first trip is one to Scotland, led by Concordia professors Cindy Larson-Casselton and Stephanie Ahlfeldt. As a PEAK, the trip is connected to communication classes at Concordia and has projects to go along with it.
“Students will be studying the role of communication in a variety of different contexts and settings,” Casselton says.
The students will be visiting Edinburgh Castle, University of Edinburgh, National Museum of Scotland, and the Highlands. There will also be a tour of the University of Glasgow. It’s asked of the students to get out into the communities and interact with the environment, with a heavy emphasis on observation.
“It is truly amazing what one can take in from such a short period of time,” Casselton says.
Although the main goal behind the trips according to Casselton is that the students get out of their comfort zones. There are both similarities and differences between the United States and Scotland such as safety, sustainability, and politics.
These similarities and differences can be looked at and analyzed. Students will be able to talk about these topics daily as they have conversations with one another. There will also be free time for them to work on their individual projects they have set up.
Another PEAK trip is “Three Faiths: A Journey to Israel and Palestine” that will be led by Concordia professor Elna Solvang. The PEAK is not tied to a class, but the students involved must have enrolled or completed Religion 200: “Christianity and Religious Diversity.”.
“It provides a foundation for engaging with the diversity of religious expressions and the complex roles of religion in the contemporary world,” says Solvang.
The trip is mainly made up of visits to religious and community sites that are of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths. Some of the places the group will be visiting are Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Caesarea.
Those who attend will have a more in-depth look at the various locations they are visiting. The students will be talking and interacting with people to get a deeper look at the surrounding cultures and narratives. They will also be taking time to visit places that many travelers and tourists do not stop to see.
When the PEAK group comes back to Concordia, it will be up to them to share what they have learned from the trip and the group will decide how to do that.
One more trip that’s being taken over Concordia’s spring break is a trip that is embedded into a course. The trip is titled, “Business and Commerce in Ireland,”, and will be led by Angel Carrete Rodriguez.
In past years, this trip has allowed groups to visit Hong Kong and Switzerland. This year, they’ll be visiting EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum located in Dublin, Ireland. They will also see St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Guinness Enterprise Center, and the Book of Kells and Trinity College Dublin.
The finance course this trip goes with is intertwined with the visit to Ireland, as the main goal is to connect students to finance technology practices in the business world.
The assistant director of Study Away Mark Melby said, “You can’t do one without the other.” The course adds context to the trip, and the trip adds experience to the course.
The trips will be going forth at the beginning of spring break, and the students will be back in time to resume classes again for the end of the spring semester.