What started as just another study abroad program has changed the lives of the 20 people involved, and now more than ever their looking to do the same for others. The three month long expedition to the American Southwest concluded this past Thursday evening as members of the student group converged in Herrick Auditorium to present their work and story to friends, family and the campus community. The two hour long event showcased the highlights of the groups various trips throughout New Mexico and surrounding states and the important work done this past semester.
For the many parents who attended the meeting, such as Patty Braun, the pride instilled by their children’s work and the level of interest was clear and evident.
“This was one of the best semesters my son’s had,” Patty remarks enthusiastically towards her son, sophomore Nathan Dunn. “It was great to see how capable he and everyone were away from Vermont and the amazing things they’ve done.”
The groundbreaking program, a new approach on study abroad for the college, was conceptualized over a year ago by Professors Paul Derby and Liza Myers. Unlike normal classroom settings, the students were given the chance to explore numerous subjects and fields of interest first hand through exploration of different environments and through exposure to the southwest culture.
A strong aspect of the program advocated by the group over the course of the evening was the depth of the learning experience and how compared to a standard college education abroad programs such as this were far better. A shared sentiment of the group being that all college students should have a chance to travel abroad in their schooling.
“This is hands down the best way to learn and gain firsthand experience” stated deeply moved Professor Derby after seeing the presentation of the students. “The work that we’ve all done both tonight and over the past months is proof that this is effective. Even the freshmen students involved have given me some of the best material I’ve seen in 17 years of teaching college.”
President Wolk, who was also present in the auditorium for the group’s presentation, had strong remarks about the success of the trip, the maturity of the students involved in the face of such an intense challenge, and the dedication of the professors involved.