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Students explore culture at home and abroad

Seminole State students pose in front of Windsor Castle during the Spring 2013 Travel Study trip to the United Kingdom and France.

Three groups of Seminole State College of Florida students, as well as faculty, staff and community members, journeyed away from Central Florida during Spring Break, March 1-10, to get a first-hand look at culture and society in New York and Europe.

Two of the groups, totaling 28 participants, traveled to the United Kingdom and France as part of the College’s Travel Study program. In addition to visiting cultural landmarks around London and Paris, the groups studied topics related to their fields of study, one exploring healthcare and the other examining business and finance in foreign markets.

The third group visited New York City under the aegis of the Art & Phyllis Grindle Honors Institute, taking in the theater scene as part of a new class about contemporary American theater.

Experiencing the Arts in New York City

Thirteen students taking the new Honors Institute course Introduction to Contemporary Theatre in America, along with two faculty members, visited New York City, where they watched and studied eight theatrical productions on and off Broadway.

Travelers pose in front of Bernard Rosenthal's Alamo in New York City.

Travelers visited the Lincoln Center, toured backstage at the Metropolitan Opera and explored cultural attractions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the Frick Collection. They also visited Chinatown, Little Italy, Greenwich Village and many world-famous attractions around the city.

Studying Healthcare in the United Kingdom

During this weeklong trip, 18 Seminole State students and fellow travelers, including four physical therapist assistant students who received partial funding from the College, visited the United Kingdom to study healthcare procedures and techniques overseas. In addition to seeing landmarks around London such as the Tower of London and the Elizabeth Tower, they visited area hospitals and museums, including the Florence Nightingale Museum.

“In medicine and in hospitals, it’s important for us to pay attention to the patient’s culture – for example, what food they eat and how they communicate,” says Professor Patty Yorty, one of the trip’s faculty advisors. “Paying attention to culture can be a big part of healthcare, so having the opportunity to experience other cultures makes us more empathetic.”

The bulk of this trip was an exploration of London, but travelers were invited on an optional excursion to the city of Bath and the Stonehenge landmark. An optional three-day trip extension to Paris also was offered.

“My experience traveling abroad was great,” says Kelly Beebe, a 32-year-old Seminole State student from Winter Park. “It was the first time I’ve been out of the States – I’ve never even been to Canada or Mexico! – so I was nervous. But the trip there and back went smoothly.”

As if to emphasize the global nature of the nursing industry, at this trip’s conclusion, Nursing Professor Maureen Tremel and Associate Dean Cheryl Cicotti left from Paris to visit and collaborate with a nursing program in Denmark.

Two students having fun near the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Exploring Financial Markets in London and Paris

Also visiting London and Paris were 10 travelers studying stocks and financial markets with Seminole State’s Center for Business, Management and Entrepreneurship. While there, they took in the sights and sounds of two global cities while examining the basic workings of English and French money markets.

“The trip and the camaraderie were excellent,” says Hugh Moore, associate dean for the Center for Business, Management & Entrepreneurship. “The students gained a lot from the cultural interchange with the parties that we visited in each country.”

But the trip wasn’t all business. In addition to visiting the London and French stock exchanges, travelers on the nine-day trip saw landmarks, including the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral.

“People’s lives in Europe are intertwined with history all around them,” says Seminole State student Leah O’Rourke, 22, of Oviedo. “Every day, every monument, every building and street – there’s so much history all around.”

Throughout the trip, participants were treated to a variety of exciting cultural experiences. They toured the offices of the BBC in London and explored the British Museum and the Louvre.

“It was a great cultural experience,” O’Rourke says. “If you have the chance to travel, do it. There’s nothing that compares to being somewhere in person and experiencing it for yourself.”

There are many Travel Study programs under consideration for the 2013-14 school year. The trips will be announced during the Summer Term so those interested in traveling may begin planning early.

“Learning happens everywhere, and when I hear our students who have studied abroad describe their experiences, it’s clear that they undergo tremendous learning, growth and development,” says Kevin Konecny, director for Seminole State’s Center for Global Engagement. “Studying abroad works as an extension of the classroom and helps students find a deeper sense of global sociocultural responsibility, one of Seminole State’s specified student learning outcomes.”

For more information about Travel Study opportunities with Seminole State College of Florida, please contact Kevin Konecny at 407.708.2907, or visit the Travel Study website.

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