A Preview of 2021 Travel Courses

”It is just not possible to learn these things in a classroom in the Valley.”

Bridgewater, Va.- Bridgewater College offers a wide range of courses for their students to take that involves an opportunity to travel in various locations across the world during their spring break or May term.

Taking one of these courses is a requirement of the Foundations in the Liberal Arts (FILA) general education program. Many call these courses X courses; which stands for Experiential Learning.

Dr. Jamie Frueh, director of the Center for Engaged Learning, said that experiential learning courses fulfill a learning objective called Integration. “The X courses all provide ways that students can practice articulating the learning they are doing at Bridgewater and demonstrating how that learning all fits together into the overarching project of a college education,” said Frueh.

Various courses offered are trips to Italy; London and Berlin; Los Angeles; Galapagos; London and Paris; England, Ireland, and Wales; Peru; and Spain. Each course fits in with a different academic track that counts as three credits for graduation.

One concern for many students is the cost for these trips as they can cost up to $5,000. Many trips take payment plans prior to the departure to try to avoid a financial burden on students all at once.

“In my experience, the cost of the travel courses at Bridgewater College is always less than what it would cost for a person to do the same trip on their own,” said Frueh. “I wish every student had the means to make one of these courses. It is just not possible to learn these things in a classroom in the Valley. Many returning students tell me such trips are a highlight of a student’s Bridgewater education.”

Students have other options to fill the Experiential Learning credit, there are Bridgewater classes that allow you to fulfill that through hands-on experiences such as internships that fulfil major requirements as well. 

Here are travel abroad courses offered for students ahead of May of 2021:

  • Italy (SOC-339X):  Students will join Professor Skip Burzumato and Dr. Susan Dixon in learning about the Italian food culture. Students will be given the opportunity to visit an ancient food market, farms, and a community garden. Along with being able to learn how to make gelato and mozzarella. For more information if interested, contact Burzumato at [email protected] or Dixon at [email protected]
  • London and Berlin (HIST-285X, ENG-323X, GER-305X): Students will have the opportunity to join Dr. Scott Suter, Dr. Geraldine Suter, Dr. Martin Kalb and Dr. Jeff Pierson in this two-week travel course. There are three distinct classes represented: Visiting monuments, memorials, and museums with Kalb for the history course; learning international cultural analysis from Scott Suter for the English course; and diving into Germany’s speaking culture with Geraldine Suter for the German course. Students with questions may contact Scott Suter at [email protected], Geraldine Suter at [email protected] or Kalb at [email protected]
  • Los Angeles (COMM-331X): The only X travel course offered during spreak break of 2021, students travel to Los Angeles for eight days with Professor Ben Erickson and Dr. Michele Clark and learn about the history of television and film. Along with visiting several studios, students will be audience members of talk shows and take tours of media-related museums. Students attending the trip will be staying at The Holiday Inn Express Walk of Fame on the famous Hollywood Boulevard. Students with further questions should contact Clark at [email protected] or Erickson at [email protected] 
  • Galapagos (BIO-257X) Students have the opportunity to study marine ecology in the Galapagos, spending 10 days in Ecuador and visiting Quito. Students will have the opportunity to snorkel with fish, observe birds and stand on the equator. Students with questions can contact Dr. Kimberly Bolyard at [email protected]
  • London and Paris (BUS-365X) Students can travel to London and Paris through the business department and, in turn, get an experiential learning credit, elective for business administration, elective for the international commerce emphasis and an elective for the organizational management emphasis. Students may contact Dr. Holly Caldwell with questions at [email protected]
  • England, Ireland, and Wales (PWR-225X) Students wanting to take the PWR-225X course will spend nine days traveling across England, Ireland and Wales. This course is considered a travel writing course where you see major landmarks throughout these countries. Students may contact Professor Ashley Lauro at [email protected] with questions.
  • Peru (SPAN-345X) The Peru trip spends 12 days in cities such as Lima, Puerto Maldonado, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Puno. This course satisfies the FILA experiential learning and the global dynamics requirements. Students can email Dr. Alma Ramirez Trujillo at [email protected]
  • Spain (ART-307X) is a twelve day trip between Barcelona and Madrid visiting monuments and museums with free time as well. This course completes world cultures and experiential learning in FILA courses. If questions persist, contact Professor Eric Kniss at [email protected]

I believe that short-term travel courses are one of the most valuable educational experiences a student can have. They get to travel to a culture that is different from what they are used to and are surprised by just how different the world can be from what is so normal that they don’t even notice it anymore,” said Frueh.