The latest Beacon Travel Abroad group has just returned from their trip to Central Europe. This small group of students and faculty visited the historically significant and culturally rich cities of Warsaw, Krakow, Budapest, and Vienna. As always, each person returned with great stories, memories, and photos from the experience. A few are already looking forward to next summer’s trip to Germany.
The popular Travel Abroad program has been in place since 2002, with Dr. Chandler in the lead role for the majority of that time. Past travel locations have included Sweden, Greece, Australia, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Galapagos Islands, to name just a few. Dr. Chandler’s personal favorite trip location was Russia. The trip with the longest flight was to New Zealand and Australia. The group spent 6 hours flying to LA, had a 4 hour layover, and then traveled to Auckland, New Zealand, which took 14 more hours. Most everyone agreed, however, that the experience was well worth the travel time.
Students often ask what trips are planned for the future, and Dr. Chandler always welcomes suggestions. She hopes to visit China in the future, and there has been student interest in that area. There are some trips that are more popular than others. For instance, travel to English speaking nations is always more popular. Many students are more at ease with knowing there will not be a language barrier. Travel to Russia was not popular mainly because of a lack of understanding about the nation.
What impacts Dr. Chandler the most on the trips are the different cultures that the group gets to experience firsthand. She believes people should sign up for the trips because they are not just a vacation. They are a transformative experience. What they see and study can change one’s perspective about many things, such as a cultural or historical event, or even how one sees or thinks about art. Students with all different personalities and interests sign up for these trips, so Dr. Chandler is never surprised by who ends up on the list, but there’s always a good mix of students, and they each find something they enjoy on the trip.
The 2015 trip arrived in Warsaw, Poland, where they learned about the impact the Nazis had on the Jewish population. They then traveled to Krakow by bullet train, and visited Auschwitz Concentration Camp & Memorial. From there, they went to Budapest to tour the city and enjoy a Danube River Cruise. When leaving Hungary, there was a stop in Bratislava, Slovakia, before heading on to Vienna, Austria. In Vienna, the group visited the memorials of Beethoven, Mozart, and Sigmund Freud, and visited many other fascinating sites.
Are you interested in experiencing another culture next summer? Fans of fairy tales will be happy to learn that next year’s trip to Germany will include not only tours of the large cities of Frankfort, Hamburg, and Berlin, but also the small town settings that inspired stories such as Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, and Hansel & Gretel. Contact Dr. Chandler at email@example.com or 352-638-9710 for more information. Check out Flickr for photos from past travel abroad excursions and see what you could experience!