Last spring, Bainbridge State College sophomore Stevenson Crowell had to sit out the College’s study aboard trip to Belize.
But not this upcoming spring’s trip.
“Everybody tells me it is a really great experience,” the Bainbridge resident said. “I always wanted to travel outside the country. This is my chance.”
Crowell is trying to build up his savings for the estimated $2,400 cost of the trip, and he is joining other students planning to sell poinsettias during the holidays and is trying to get scholarships in order to make his first trip outside of the United States.
Scheduled from Feb. 28 through March 8, 2014, Bainbridge State students taking the trip to Belize can earn credit in four different courses; education, environmental sciences, biology and anthropology.
For Crowell, the trip will offer him a chance to learn under Dr. Jenny Harper, a Bainbridge State faculty member who will lead environmental and marine science classes and who is a marine biologist, which Crowell plans to pursue a bachelor’s in marine sciences next year at Savannah State University. Some of the highlights will be snorkeling over coral reefs along the coast of Ambergris Caye and touring a manatee sanctuary.
However, Belize is not the only opportunity Bainbridge State students may travel as part of a study aboard program.
Victoria Dewick of Bainbridge, a sophomore studying business administration, is preparing for the College’s program studying history and literature in Scotland from May 10-24, 2014.
“It just seemed like a good opportunity to broaden my perspective of the world,” said Dewick, a Connecticut native who has never been on an airplane and has never traveled outside of the East Coast.
“I am really, really excited about going,” she said.
She is working two jobs trying to save up the money for the $2,995 cost of the trip.
Students may earn credit in two summer semester courses: “Rebel, Kings and Witches: U.S. and Scotland before 1865,” which is designed to count for either U.S. History 1 or Western Civilization I; and, “From Fairyland to Hogwarts: The Fantasy Worlds of Scottish Writers,” which is a British Literature II course.
Dr. Dave Nelson, associate professor of history at Bainbridge State, serves as the program director for the Scotland Study Aboard Program through the University System of Georgia’s European Council, which is available to all students in the state’s 31 institutions. The courses have an online component before and after the trip.
Students are scheduled to visit Edinburgh, Scotland, in the first week, and Glasgow during the second week. There is also time for students to take side trips, such as to the Scottish Highlands and even to St. Andrews.
“After taking students overseas, especially students who have never been out of the country before, they are more appreciative of their lives here and much more energized with their studies,” said Dr. Nelson, who has led students overseas five times, four of those to Scotland.
Bainbridge State student Julie Darley of Bainbridge is a psychology major and is interested in Belize’s school system.
“I am also looking forward to observing society as a whole because I understand that unlike our society, the Belizeans do not discriminate by race,” Darley said. “It goes without saying the sheer beauty of the country is a strong pull. I am so excited to have this opportunity.”
Dr. Harper said the schedule they keep their students on is very tight.
“We take care of every single thing,” Dr. Harper said. “There’s no time to get into any trouble because we run a tight ship.”
For example, the student traveling to Belize will get to see Mayan ruins, rainforests, various marine sanctuaries and archeological sites. Education majors will spend time in classrooms as part of their observation requirements, and students in the science tracts will sit in on Corozal Junior College classes.
Valley Rogers, associate professor of education at Bainbridge State, has led a group to Belize for four years. She warns her students that they are not on vacation, but they are constantly doing things and learning new things.
“The study aboard program is something you cannot get from a classroom,” Rogers said. “It opens up your whole mindset. The memories will last a lifetime. My students feel it is worth every penny.”