The Online Beacon

The Student News Site of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

The Student News Site of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

The Online Beacon

The Online Beacon

The Online Beacon

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Exploring Diversity: MCLA’s Spring 2024 Travel Courses

Exploring Diversity: MCLAs Spring 2024 Travel Courses

Spring 2024 brought exciting opportunities for Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) students to embark on transformative journeys through a variety of travel courses. These immersive experiences, led by dedicated faculty members, offered students the chance to explore diverse cultures, ecosystems, and historical events. Let’s dive into the enriching destinations and experiences that students encountered during this semester’s travel courses.

  1. Dublin, Ireland: Unraveling History and Culture

Under the guidance of Dr. Anthony Daly, students ventured into the heart of Dublin, Ireland, from March 9 to March 18. This immersive travel course provided an in-depth exploration of Irish history, culture, and society. Students engaged in discussions, on-site talks, and tours led by Professor Daly and other guides, delving into the connections between Irish history and contemporary Ireland.

Dublin, Ireland

They experienced the vibrant streets of Dublin, visiting iconic landmarks such as Trinity College, Dublin Castle, and Kilmainham Jail, while also immersing themselves in the city’s rich literary heritage, shaped by renowned writers like James Joyce and W.B. Yeats. A day trip to the Wicklow Mountains National Park provided a serene retreat into nature, offering students a glimpse into Ireland’s breathtaking landscapes and ancient monastic sites.

  1. San Salvador, Bahamas: Exploring Tropical Ecosystems

Led by Dr. Eric Doucette and Dr. Anne Goodwin, students embarked on a scientific expedition to the Caribbean island of San Salvador from March 9 to March 17. This 3-credit course, BIOL 395 Tropical Ecology, offered students the opportunity to explore tropical ecosystems and discuss human impacts on these environments. Through hands-on experiences and field research, students gained practical knowledge of tropical ecology, examining biodiversity, and conservation challenges. They explored the island’s lush rainforests, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse wildlife, documenting their findings through journaling and data collection. At the Gerace Research Centre, students had access to research facilities and engaged in discussions on environmental sustainability, making this journey a blend of scientific exploration and ecological stewardship.

  1. Cape Town and Gqeberha, South Africa: Bridging Science and Culture

In a groundbreaking course led by Dr. Kebra Ward, students embarked on a multidisciplinary journey through South Africa from March 8 to March 19. This immersive experience focused on state-of-the-art science and cultural exploration, offering students insights into the societal impact of scientific advancements. In Cape Town, students explored the city’s rich cultural history, visiting iconic sites such as Robben Island and Table Mountain, while also delving into discussions on nanotechnology and materials science. Transitioning to Gqeberha, students had exclusive access to Nelson Mandela University’s Centre for High-Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy, where they captured atomic-scale images and explored nano-scale imaging technologies. This course provided students with a unique blend of cultural enrichment and cutting-edge scientific engagement, highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of academic exploration.

  1. American South Civil Rights Tour: Commemorating History

Under the guidance of Dr. Ely Janis, students embarked on a poignant journey through the American South from March 9 to March 16. This immersive tour commemorated major milestones and events of the Civil Rights Era, offering students the opportunity to engage with history firsthand. From Atlanta, Georgia, to Memphis, Tennessee, students visited iconic landmarks such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. They met with Civil Rights activists and veterans, hearing their firsthand experiences and gaining insights into the legacy of the Civil Rights movement. Through discussions and reflections, students deepened their understanding of the ongoing struggle for equality and justice in American society, making this journey a powerful testament to the enduring significance of the Civil Rights Era.

MCLA’s Spring 2024 travel courses provided students with transformative experiences, allowing them to explore diverse cultures, ecosystems, and historical events. From the bustling streets of Dublin to the tranquil shores of San Salvador, students immersed themselves in the beauty and complexity of the world around them. These immersive journeys not only enriched their academic learning but also fostered personal growth, cultural understanding, and a deeper appreciation for the interconnected nature of our global community. As they return to campus, students carry with them memories and insights that will shape their academic and personal journeys for years to come.

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Karen Yamada, Staff Writer

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