By: Dr. Jenny Harper, Associate Professor of Biology
I have had the very fortunate opportunity to lead several study abroad programs at Bainbridge State College to beautiful and amazing locations such as Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Belize, Spain, and now France and Italy. My favorite thing about teaching at the college is traveling abroad with students. I see a change that occurs in them through experiential learning unlike anything that can happen in the classroom. Their personal growth and acquisition of knowledge is truly a beautiful process to witness. Students come back home from a study abroad program changed for the better and ready to share their new found knowledge with everyone around them!
In May, Dr. Michael Kirkland (Professor of History), Dr. Patrick Smith (Professor of English and Literature), Mr. Ridge Harper (Director and College Completion) and myself traveled to France and Italy for two weeks with students and community members. Our journey began in Paris, France for three days. There we visited several highlights such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Louvre, Montmartre, and enjoyed a day trip to Versailles and Giverny. We then took a bullet train to Milan, Italy and enjoyed the sites of the Fashion Capital as well as laid-back Lake Como. The picturesque Cinque Terre, with its many brightly colored buildings and homes perched along the cliffs of the Mediterranean Sea, was fabulous to see from the train and by foot. Next, we stayed in Florence for several days. There we soaked up the history and beauty that is incomparable to just about anything! We visited the Duomo, Michelangelo’s famous statue of David, the Uffizi Gallery, and many other famous Firenze sites. Luckily, several Tuscan locations are close to Florence and we took day trips to Pisa to see its well-known Leaning Tower and a lesser known village called Lucca that retains most of its original stone wall built during the medieval times to ward off the Romans. Our group had the unique chance to eat lunch at a family owned and operated winery and olive oil business. We had already discovered that the Italians treat visitors very well, but here, we were treated like family! On our way from Florence to Rome, we stopped in a small town called Orvieto that was originally established by the Etruscans on top of a bluff. During the centuries of occupation, an underground system of tunnels and caves was built under Orvieto that was absolutely fascinating.
The last few days of our adventure took us to Rome. There we took advantage of the history and sites and visited as many locations as we could squeeze in including the Vatican, Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and many other fun and interesting places and churches. Our group was also able to travel to Pompeii for the day and see the ruins of the city that are so well preserved today. We said Ciao to Italy and headed home on an eight hour flight back to Georgia. So many fabulous memories!
The students that traveled with us were able to receive up to 13 hours of college credit for courses in Biology, History, English, Literature, Anthropology, and/or Study Abroad. They also received a scholarship through the Marsicano Foundation that helped pay for their expenses. I was so proud of our travelers. They were brave, fun, and adventurous and it was truly a wonderful experience to share those 2 life changing weeks with them. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did!
If you interested in traveling abroad with BSC, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are already planning our next trip for Peru in May, 2018. This trip will be available for students and community members. Students at BSC are eligible for a scholarship as well that helps cover study abroad program expenses. Hope to see you in Peru!