During the spring break of the Spring 2014 semester (March 14-22), fifteen undergraduates embarked upon a global studies field course trip to Israel, Jordan and the West Bank. The group visited a number of sites in Israel, including Tel Aviv, the Lebanese-Israeli border, the Golan Heights, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea and Jerusalem. The group also visited several sites in Jordan, including the ancient Roman city of Jerash, the capital of Jordan, Amman, and Petra. While visiting Petra, students spent the night in a Bedouin desert camp and took 4×4 jeeps into the Wadi desert. Finally, the group traveled to visit Bethlehem and a Palestinian refugee camp, Aida, in the West Bank. While earning four course credits, students expanded their worlds and made deep and lasting friendships. They returned home as more engaged and committed global citizens.
After returning from the trip, students reflected on their experience:
“This trip made me completely more aware of other cultures and people. It was important that I was able to experience real world issues in person rather than just from a textbook. I also believe that this will make me a better future teacher. I am proud of myself for going out of my comfort zone and expanding my horizons.”
“I can’t even begin to explain how different I feel because of my experiences there. My entire view of everything that I hear in the news and in school is altered by my time there and I sincerely wish more people could educate themselves through travel. Like Mark Twain said, ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness’ and I definitely agree with that statement now.”
“It is difficult to find the words to describe our overall experience in Israel and Jordan. When I try to do so, I am overwhelmed with so many emotions and then frustration because I know there is no way I can impress upon people the impact of these experiences. Now that we are back home, I feel liberated. I feel empowered.”