Adults from around the country are learning about food in New York City, falcons in Vermont, art in Savannah and Mark Twain in Connecticut through West Virginia University’s Travel Study program.
The program, which caters to adult learners, offers credit, non-credit and professional development opportunities. Students who partake in the program not only visit an array of educational stops during the trip, but they are also required to attend a class prior to and at the conclusion of the trip.
“The trip is designed so that adults who participate bring back a new appreciation of some unique regions of the U.S., as well as a new perspective about the world, to share with others in their community, workplace and personal lives. All the trips are very interesting, informative and unforgettable,” said Cheryl Crowley, Travel Study coordinator with Extended Learning.
Journalism and Advanced Placement English teacher Terri Boggs participated in the New York City trip in November. The trip was themed around cultural diversity. Participants took a walking/eating tour through Greenwich Village, watched a Broadway musical and toured the city visiting Ground Zero and Central Park, among other things.
“It was priceless. The trip was a combination of entertainment and information that I will never forget. It made me see our country in a different way, and have a greater appreciation for my own heritage,” said Boggs, who works at Robert C. Byrd High School in Clarksburg.
Boggs used the experience when teaching her students about “The Canterbury Tales” in her Advanced Placement Literature class.
“My presentation at the conclusion was a parody of ‘The Canterbury Tales.’ We were studying Geoffrey Chaucer in AP Literature at the time, and my students were able to see how a modern-day eclectic group could have a similar experience,” she said.
Art teacher Leo Roe, of Grafton, has found that the trips help to enhance what he is already teaching his students.
“The trips are fun, yet we all learn so much. And those trips have certainly enriched our students. I can’t afford to take my students on field trips, so I bring the information back to them. And having actually been there, I can interject more than they can find by just opening a book or pulling up a Web site,” said Roe, who teaches at Philippi Middle School and works in the media center of Philip Barbour High School.
Roe first participated in the trips 15 years ago when he was renewing his teaching certificate. Since then, he has participated in all but one of the trips.
He has observed the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago, witnessed the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C., he visited Norman Rockwell’s hometown in Vermont, viewed art at museums in New York, Baltimore, Atlanta and Chicago and participated in Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, among other things.
“I have learned so much about my country, and take more pride in it,” he said.
The trips are generally offered three times a year. The cost of the trip varies depending on the location and tour stops. Participants do not have to be current WVU students.
The next trip planned is to Connecticut in June. Participants will explore Mystic Seaport and 19th century Connecticut as well as the life and legacy of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the American humorist and satirist best known as Mark Twain.
By Colleen DeHart
WVU News and Information Services
CONTACT: Lynn Reinke, Extended Learning