Students, professors explore Paris, meet alumnus during spring travel study
July 18, 2012
Associate Professor Sheila Turek.
Seventeen UW-Whitewater students participated in a Paris travel study this spring that took them on an exciting journey through France's capitol where they acquired valuable travel, foreign language, and multicultural skills.
The students spent the 10 days of their travel study exploring and studying landmarks of Paris and were accompanied by Sheila Turek, associate professor of French, and Howard Ross, professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies. Activities included viewing ancient artifacts at the Musée du Louvre, visiting the Palace of Versailles, exploring local markets, trekking through picturesque, downtown Paris and speaking French firsthand.
"There's a perception that because France is a western country that they do everything just like us, and actually it's funny how many cultural differences there can be. It's just so good to get out of your comfort zone and really see another aspect of another culture and another way of living," Turek said.
While the program provides students both guided tours and the freedom to explore Paris on their own, it also gives them a taste of international culture, as the program is centered on an art and history curriculum. Students received academic credit for attending, and they compiled research for presentations, documented their travels in journals and participated in lectures and discussions.
"We let students figure out whatever it is they want to take from Paris, and it's always something different," Turek said. "It should be an individual experience, even though it's experienced in a group setting."
The course is open to all majors, and a variety of students attended during this past year's trip. "It was a group of 17 students, and this was a really cohesive group, very positive," Turek said. "We get many types of students from all four UW-Whitewater Colleges, including business students, sociology students, history students and art students, and this year I had four students who were either majoring or minoring in French who attended for French credit."
Students meet with alumnus Nick Zoulek (center) while in Paris.
Unique to this year's trip was the group's meeting with UW-Whitewater alumnus Nick Zoulek, who graduated with a degree in musical performance for saxophone in 2007 and is continuing his Master's studies at a music conservatory in France. Zoulek participated in the travel study three years ago and invited this year's students to a concert of his original compositions. "It was an amazing experience to see him there and thriving and for our students to meet him," Turek said.
The Paris Travel Study program runs every spring semester, and Turek said she is optimistic that students will continue to be interested and excited at the opportunity to join a travel study in the future. "I hope students will develop a thirst for adventure, a desire to travel and see the world and broaden their own horizons."
Information regarding UW-Whitewater's travel study opportunities can be found at the university's Center for Global Education; for specific information on next year's Paris Travel Study program, contact Sheila Turek at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website for further details.
Article written by Eleanor Jacobson, L&S Media