BY: Zachary Hubbard
China, Iceland, Rwanda, Spain, and Uruguay, what do these 5 countries all have in common? It’s not native language, climate, or most popular vacation activity. The common denominator is that Shenandoah University will be sending groups to each of these five countries during Spring Break 2018. The Global Citizenship Program (GCP) at Shenandoah has been sending groups to numerous countries for 13 years and “every year we do the GCP program [it] seems like it is more exciting than the last” says Director of International Programs, Bethany Galipeau-Konate.
Trips take place during spring break and are free to all attending. According to the GCP website, SU sends groups to “whet the appetite of learners for longer-term learning abroad.” By sending students, faculty, and staff, participants are immersed in a culture for approximately 10 days to learn and experience firsthand. “I am delighted to add new destinations to the list of places we’ve traveled, which include Iceland, Spain and Uruguay” says Galipeau-Konate. Two groups will be returning to China and Rwanda, countries where GCP has previously sent participants. Galipeau-Konate notes that “it is equally exciting to return to destinations that have been successful in the past…to allow a new group of participants to experience these amazing cultures.”
Destinations are selected over a period of time and sometimes over years. Deciding factors can include a faculty members’ history with a country. For example, this year Dr. Adela Borrallo-Solis is taking a group to her home country of Spain, Dr. Gerry Kiefer to Iceland where she has spent a great deal of time, and Dr. Karen Feltham to Rwanda where she has lived previously.
There is no doubt that these destinations are incredible, but Galipeau-Konate says that what travelers will appreciate the most will be very different from one another. “What we try to provide with the GCP program is a trip that exposes participants to a variety of cultural experiences within their destination and that goes beyond the beaten path.”