As students become swamped with papers and various exams, they often look towards the prospect of a long, warm summer filled with adventure to ease their academic pains.
Many University students plan to leave the country and explore the wonders of the Old World. LSA sophomore Erik Keith plans to embark on a two-week excursion to Athens, Greece this summer. The trip is associated with the philosophy department of the community college in his hometown, and is sponsored by Southern Illinois University. Keith said the students will be staying in a five-star hotel with first class accommodations.
“It will give me a good idea of whether or not I want to participate in a semester-long study abroad program and also an idea as to what the country is like,” Keith said. Keith”s class plans to see the Acropolis, the Grecian islands in the Mediterranean and the west coast of Turkey.
Maggie Weston, LSA freshman, will seek fun and frolic in Spain. She has been planning the trip since the beginning of last summer, and looks forward to seeing El Prado, a large art museum in Madrid, one of the largest cathedrals in the world, a few palaces and possibly a bull fight in Seville. Additionally, Weston plans to take a bullet train to Granada, and visit her grandparents.
“I believe the trip will broaden my perspectives, and equip me with a better appreciation for my culture in Ann Arbor and the Spanish culture and see the sites associated with the Spanish Civil War,” Weston said.
A variety of options are available to students wishing to travel abroad, according to Lindsay L. Smith, Student Service Assistant at the Office of International Programs.
“Students are able to choose international programs based on their concentration, financial need or even just interest,” she said. “Quite a few of our programs do not even require students to be proficient in the language of the country.”
The OIP offers pre-departure arrangements for students traveling abroad that include support services and help obtaining a visa. Although Smith admits that this is more problematic in terms of financial aid distribution and other considerations, the OIP does offer options for students who wish to go through a non-University sponsored program.
“As long as it is a four-year university, the credits usually transfer,” Smith said.
Janet Grudzien, a LSA first-year student, plans to travel to Grenoble, France this summer for a six-week academic program. Grenoble”s strategic location in the French Alps will allow Grudzien to visit Switzerland and Paris. Paris is an especially desirable travel destination, as Grudzien will be able to experience Bastille Day France”s Independence Day on the fourteenth of July. Aside from the site-seeing aspect of the trip, Grudzien is more focused on the academic benefits of traveling abroad.
“My French speaking ability will be broadened through daily interactions and conversation with French natives, and in addition I will be able to take higher levels of French courses in the near future,” Grudzien said.
Grudzien will be taking an intensive French language class as well as three two-week classes on French literature at the University of Stendhal.
Other students use the summer programs as a preparation for their career. LSA junior Eric Keller plans to spend four weeks in Israel accompanying a team of archaeologists on an excavation project. Keller is an Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies major and hopes to eventually lead an excavation team.
Keller will be flying into Tel-Aviv and lodging near the excavation site. During the week, he will be digging from five in the morning to one in the afternoon, due to the intensity of the sun during the day. Additionally, various esteemed archaeologists will be giving lectures throughout the week. On the weekend, there will be various field trips to places of interest in Israel.
“I want to float in the Dead Sea, and if the situation wasn”t so bad, I would have liked to see Jerusalem,” Keller said.
LSA freshman Louise Conlan has chosen to frequent Italy, which is the origin of the Corleone family, and home to the Pope. Conlan will spend five weeks in Rome, living at the Rome Center, which is fifteen minutes outside of the city. “In Rome, I hope to see lots of hot Italian guys, and while I”m at it Florence, the ruins of Pompeii, the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican, Michelangelo”s David, Da Vinci”s masterpieces, St. Peter”s, the Pieta, the Catacombs and the beaches on the Mediterranean Sea.”
Conlan had decided at the beginning of this semester to take the trip, but was dismayed to discover that her time abroad would have to be in adjunct to her concentration and would count only as additional credits. She plans to study art history at Loyola University.
“I think that it will make history come alive for me” Conlon said. “Especially when I learn about Roman history, I”ll be able to picture the Coliseum, the temples and the mosaics.”