JSC students to go Eurotripping


Agathe Fredette

Catherine Church

In May of 2016, as part of an immersive history course titled “European History in Europe,” a group of Johnson State College students will be traveling for two weeks to London, Paris, and Normandy to experience first-hand the rich historical and cultural aspects of these famous cities.

Students will be staying in these intricate and bustling cities for a chance to explore and learn about a variety of historical locations and landmarks. These locations include the Versailles Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and the D-Day beaches, along with a variety of other locations.
“It’s the trip of a lifetime,” said Catherine Church, a sophomore at Johnson State College majoring in anthropology and sociology. Church said that is has been her life-long dream to explore Europe, particularly London, England.

“We go to college in such a small location and through this trip we are given a chance to expand our world view,” said Church. “I was really excited and nervous at first because I have not traveled outside the country before. [Being] given this opportunity to fulfill a life-long dream is amazing and a little overwhelming.”

Lisa Cline, associate professor for the Humanitarian Department at Johnson State College, will be teaching this course and leading the trip, and classes for the course will begin April before students leave for the trip in May.

Students will be studying historical guide books of the cities they will be exploring and will be required to keep a travel journal during the trip. Through this course, they will learn an overview of the major historical developments in European history, examine how these important events affected the evolution of British and French societies, explore connections between current issues and those throughout history, and help foster a sense of world-citizenship.

“There are so many sites in and around Paris and London that date from Medieval and even Roman times; there are fantastic museums, palaces, gardens,” said Cline. “There are cafes that date back to the 18th century, places where Enlightenment philosophers read and debated.”

This is the third time that Cline has taught the “European History in Europe” course. The previous trips traveled to Germany and around France to visit a variety of cultural and historical sites.
For students like Church, this will be the first time they have had the opportunity to go on an international trip such as this. For others, it is yet another trip to add to their list of already visited countries.

“This will actually be the third time I’ve visited Paris in my life,” said Simon Dolan. “I’m excited to see how the city has changed and how my experience might differ now that I am an adult.”
Dolan is a senior majoring in psychology and said that classes where students are able to visit and experience the actual locations they are learning about differ greatly from any other type of learning experience.

“I think that travel allows people to experience an entirely different kind of lifestyle, and that’s something that isn’t found in a classroom,” said Dolan.
Sam Alexander, a sophomore majoring in education, has traveled to Europe multiple times for high school trips through language courses.

“My love of travel and history is what motivates me to learn about the world,” said Alexander. “I want to be able to fill in a world map with all of the places I’ve been to.”

Alexander has traveled to Spain twice and once to Germany, and said that she is excited about adding France and England to the list of European countries she has visited. As a future teacher, she sees the benefit of experiencing, in person, the locations and subjects to enhance her teaching.

“It will give me the opportunity to teach my students about the things I’ve seen in person instead of just the things I’ve read about,” said Alexander.

Cline is also confident that this is a course that will expand her students’ world views and give them a unique understanding of the locations and their histories that students would otherwise be unable to gain through only reading about them.

“Europe is the hub of history and culture that helped influence the way of the world,” said Church. “To be exposed to that first hand is a rare opportunity. Going there is like stepping into the past for a little while.”

While there are some locations that the class will definitely be visiting, Cline said that the final itinerary for the trip will be decided by the interests of the students themselves, giving them the opportunity to choose the locations that they want to experience.

“Before we go, we’ll be reading quite a bit about the places we’re going to visit, and each student will become a resident expert on one of the destinations,” said Cline. “It really promises to be a terrific course.”