Study-Abroad Programs Introduce Students to Travel Learning Experiences

Dec 10, 2019

by Greg Williams
Publications Editor

Through Florida Southern’s commitment to travel-study experiences such as its Junior Journey program, the College guarantees every full-time undergraduate student an opportunity to pursue course-related options in a wide range of exciting foreign and domestic locales after completing four full semesters of study

Junior Journey trips, which are led by faculty members or qualified staff, are typically one to three weeks long and offer students an opportunity for intellectual and cultural growth while earning one hour of academic credit.

Some of these amazing travel study experiences are available at no additional cost beyond a student’s usual tuition. Trips are offered during fall, winter, and spring breaks, and during the summer months.

Whether a student participates in an international or domestic trip, the Junior Journey program provides a valuable framework to build confidence and self-awareness in fascinating new environments that encourage adaptability, independence, and other skills that will be important in life and future career settings. Students who travel to destinations outside the United States will also experience priceless opportunities to practice their foreign language skills.

Marina Morgan, an FSC faculty member and metadata librarian proposed a Junior Journey to her home country of Romania. Together with Dr. Jose Manuel Garcia, associate professor of Spanish and trip chaperone, she introduced students to the medieval and contemporary history of the Transylvania region in fall 2019.

“The students were actively immersed in the rich culture of each place we visited,” said Morgan, who organized the trip to allow students to experience “the delicious Romanian food, diverse culture, picturesque landscapes, rich history, and architecture. My hope is that this trip was enriching from a cultural perspective and was an experience that they will forever remember.”

In the group’s travel journals, one student wrote of the vital educational importance of seeing Romania’s “magnificent feats of architecture and sacred preservation … as it shows us just how similar we are to people that we think are so very far away from us.” Another student noted that she had “learned a lot about other people in general and how to navigate a foreign country a little bit better” while talking with Romanians about their culture and the ways they live their lives.

Visit to Stonehenge
FSC student Regan Williams '20 visited Stonehenge during her travel-study semester at Regent's University London.

Elisa “Snow” Malave, a senior from Sarasota, wrote: “I took it upon myself to learn some Romanian before the trip, learning the pronunciation of the Romanian alphabet as well as basic phrases and grammar.” Although she described the grammar rules as some of the most difficult she has encountered in her study of more than 15 different languages, “Romanians are appreciative of any attempt at speaking their language! Noroc! (meaning ‘Luck!’ or ‘Cheers!)”

For years, Regan Williams ’20 of St. Johns, Fla., had wanted to travel to London. While planning for college, she was excited to learn about FSC’s Junior Journey program and its partner schools abroad. Williams later spent the fall semester of her junior year studying at Regent’s University London, located in Regent’s Park in Central London. “I am a double major in business administration and economics, so when enrolling in classes abroad, what better time to take international business courses than when you’re overseas?” she wrote. “If you are thinking of the possibility of studying abroad, DO IT! Take the leap, grasp the opportunity, and don’t doubt yourself.”

Upcoming Junior Journey destinations for early- to mid-2020 include Alaska, Israel, South Africa, Taiwan, Vietnam, Iceland, Ireland, Germany, Spain, and Latvia. Faculty members organize trips to enhance their course curricula, so destinations vary from year to year. Planned trips generally are announced six months in advance.

Romanian castle
FSC’s 2019 Junior Journey trip to Romania included a visit to Peles Castle, an ornate 160-room palace in the Carpathian Mountains. The castle was built in the late 1800s by King Carol I of Romania on an existing medieval route between Transylvania and Wallachia.