The countdown has begun.
In just three months, a group of about 14 will travel to Italy and Greece for 10 days of sightseeing and cultural immersion.
The group will explore the Sistine Chapel, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Spanish steps. They’ll take a ferry to Capri, visit the Pompeii Roman Ruins and explore all that Athens has to offer, including the Parthenon and Plaka District.
And they’ll do it all in just 10 days.
Doug King, Ph.D., an associate professor in Gannon University’s English department, will lead the trip in May in conjunction with Education First, an international education company that specializes in language training and educational travel. This will be the sixth time he has taken students to Europe.
Meanwhile, King is already spreading the word about the following trip, set for May 2015. That excursion will take place in Paris, Provence and Barcelona.
He said that May is an ideal time of year for an overseas adventure. Students have time to catch their breath after finals before jetting off to Europe, but they are still home in time to begin summer jobs and internships.
The travelers are primarily Gannon students. However, friends, family and faculty are welcome to take part. King said he’s seen students bring parents, siblings and even grandparents.
“Somebody brought a 78-year-old woman,” King said, “and she was just totally cool and rocked with us the whole time – complained less than anybody.”
King’s own son Spencer, a student at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, will join the group this summer.
The price per participant for both trips hovers around $3,000. This includes airfare, hotels, ground transportation, admissions, half of all meals and a full-time EF tour director. Although the cost may seem daunting, participants believe the experience is worth it.
Mary Price, a junior sport and exercise science major, was part of the group that traveled to Switzerland, Italy and France with King last year.
She said she appreciated the tour’s structure, which allowed for both planned sightseeing and free time.
“I like being able to explore on our own,” she said. “You gain so much from being able to do your own thing.”
At the same time, she said, EF introduced her to several spots she wouldn’t have found otherwise.
“The company takes us to some really awesome nice restaurants and artisan shops where we get to see craftsmen make glass, leather, and jewelry from silver,” Price said.
Of all the stops on her trip, she said, her favorite by far was Florence.
“We spent two days there and it felt like five minutes,” she said. “There was so much to look at and do. My group went to the top of the cathedral and looked down at all of the city. It was amazing. Plus the food was awesome there – so much gelato.”
Price said she not only had fun, but also learned quite a bit in the process.
“I’ve gained a huge appreciation for history and the arts,” she said. “I’m a huge history person and I loved learning about the origins of the cities, churches and families.”
In fact, Price had such a good time, she is signed up for King’s trip to Greece and Italy this May.
Students can earn academic credits by taking part in King’s EF tours. He’s teaching a leadership seminar this semester that is tailored to international travel, and participation in May’s trip is integrated into the course.
Whether a student is seeking college credit, excitement or an opportunity to become familiar with the roots of Western civilization, King said he or she would benefit greatly from an excursion abroad.
To learn more about King’s upcoming trips, contact him at [email protected]