Grace Cavanaugh ~ Copy Editor
One of the many opportunities offered to University of Lynchburg students is study abroad. For J-term in the 2019-2020 school year, there are programs going to Italy, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, to name a few.
Ellen Thompson, the director of the Center for Global Education, said, “We start out advertising for more programs than actually run because we need a certain number of students to go in each program to actually have them run for budget reasons. […] This year we have programs that are running to India, the Bahamas, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, and Italy. A group of PA students are also going to Oaxaca, Mexico, for a medical mission program. ”
Two such programs for J-term are a study abroad in Italy with Dr. Elizabeth Savage, Grace Mattox, and Dr. Siobhan Byrns, and in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia with Dr. David Lipani.
Dr. Savage said, about the Italy trip, “In the past, [Dr. Byrns] has taken this trip with other faculty [and] they have gone just to Rome, and so we have expanded the trip this year to go to Florence. […] We are going to take a day trip to Tivoli and to Assisi.”
Meanwhile, with Dr. Lipani, students will be traveling to “Hanoi, which is the furthest north we will go, and it is the capital of Vietnam,” said Dr. Lipani. He continued, “We will travel south, but the first stop is actually a bit further east to Halong Bay. […] We will move southwards to Hue and Hoi An. […] Then we go into Cambodia [and Laos].”
Both trips have a literary side to them. For the Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos study abroad trip, students will receive credits for ENGL 202 and 377, according to Dr. Lipani’s email sent on Aug. 27, 2019. For the Italy study abroad, students can choose whether they want to take both courses offered, ART 166 or HONR 342, or just one.
According to Dr. Lipani, students who commit to the Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos trip will enjoy “visiting places that are related to the war, of course, including Khe Sanh,” he said, and visiting “Siem Reap, which is where Angkor Wat is.”
Dr. Savage said, “So hopefully we will see the Epiphany Mass with the pope, which is stunning, even it you are not Catholic. […] We will be reading great writers who have traveled to Italy and written writing about Italy so we can compare out impressions […] or even in some ways filter our impressions through the way these famous writers have written about Rome and Florence.”
While this is the first time Dr. Savage has participated in the Italy study abroad, Dr. Byrns has “done it a bunch of times,” according to Dr. Savage. “I am excited,” she said. “I think it is going to be a lot of fun.”
Dr. Lipani has also gone to Vietnam multiple times, saying, “I added Cambodia probably on my fifth trip, [or] sixth.” Laos is new to the program this year. “It is just so beautiful. You have to experience it. It is amazing. Just amazing.”
There are currently 79 students planning to study abroad over J-term, according to Thompson. She also said, “This is the only time in your life that you are going to be able to do this. After you graduate from college, what is you plan? To get a job, and those jobs are not going to let you have two, three weeks off of work. […] So this really is the one time for you to do it.”
“A lot of times, people are on the fence [about study abroad] because of financial reasons,” said Thompson. She continued, “I definitely think that everyone should do it because we have financial option here.”
Thompson said, “We have scholarships. […] We have some endowed funds that we offer through the institution and they have different restrictions on them. […] There are some where you have to go to Spanish speaking countries and then there is also some where you have to be in a high financial need. It just varies. […] If you are using an outside provider, they have scholarships that you can apply for as well. And then there is additional outside scholarships like the Gilman and Boren Awards.”
Thompson finished, “It is an amazing experience and this is the only time you can really do it, so why not do it?”
For more information about study abroad trips, contact the Center for Global Education at email@example.com.