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Trips explore exotic places

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by Angelique B. D’Silva
Staff Writer

The month of January for University of La Verne students is a time for reposing and being able to focus on their classes, being that a student takes a maximum of five units. January is the time to start easing them back into school and a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to explore worlds not always known to them. January Interterm 2001 this year is offering trips to Italy, Cuba, Mexico and France. The trips are offered through the various departments, which are geared to all of the university.

Dr. Kenneth Scambray, professor of English, will take 20 students to Italy. The trip to Italy will fulfill English 409 and core 310, and will run under $1,800. The cost of trip includes airfare, lodging and dining.

In Italy, students will visit Rome and Florence. Other possible sites include Venice, Pisa, Sienda, Lucca, Assisi, Flesole and Pisoia will be to the student’s discretion.

The trip will commence Jan. 9 where they will land in Rome and spend 3 1/2 days. That Saturday, they will take a train to Florence where they will stay the remainder of the 12 days.

Scambray decided that Florence was the perfect city to stay the remainder of the time, because of the concentration of art and that it is a city centrally located to all other major cities. Florence, Scambray said, is not a city tourist can see in one day.

“What they [students] get is an understanding and exposure to another culture. And we get it in a special kind of way because we only go to two cities and stay in Florence for as long as we do. We really have an opportunity to observe the Italian culture in greater depth than the average tourist who is moving every two to three days,” said Scambray.

Before the students leave on their journey they will have had to turn in their itinerary, a short essay on the book “Daisy Miller” and take an exam on art history. Upon their return, they are to turn in the diary of their excursion.

Now, if one is looking for a trip that is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, than there is Media and Politics in Cuba. The instructors for the class are Richard Gelm, George Keeler and Donald Pollock.

The class will leave Jan. 6 and return Jan. 20. In Cuba, the students will partake in activities visiting media outlets and cultural sites-the University of Habana journalism department, a radio station, CMQ television station, film, a colonial town (Trinidad), the beach (Cabana del sol), newspapers, museums and cultural institutions.

The class will make students realize the impact of Cuban/American relations on a global basis: economics, technology, strategic implication and human rights, according to the syllabus of the class.

“Cuba is a hot topic place with polarization between ideas. We are still technically in a Cold War situation with Cuba. We don’t want any kind of relations with them and economic trading is forbidden,” said Keeler.

The trip is limited to the size of the bus, there will be approximately 30 students going on the trip. The workload will not be the same for all students, all depending on what classes students will utilize the trip for.

“We go to places where journalists go to cover stories,” said Keeler. “We are going to Cuba because we see relations thawing between the two countries; and we want to be there as reporters and journalist to make stories about it,” he said.

As far as students or parents are concerned about safety, Keeler has been told that “they will never be safer in their life because there is a policeman on every corner.” Going to Cuba is really momentous because Keeler has been aware that students will be seen as diplomats who can change a culture “by what we say or how we act.”

Another country students will be able to visit is France, lead by Al Clark and Dr. Iraj Parchamazad. Students will will study the possibilities of alternative energy and visit energy related places such as power plants as well as historical sites and museums. Though the plans are not finalized people interested can contact Clark at ext. 4240 or Parchamazad at ext. 4608.

Mexico has a rich and long history. Debbie Roberts and Kim Martin will take students to explore the wonders of the country this interterm.

“Many students have roots in Mexico but have not been there, or have been there only briefly. The trip has traditionally been important for those who have connections but who have little or no experience with those connections. It is also an important place because of its geographical closeness to the U.S. and our nation’s history in Mexican reality,” she said.

“We hope students will bring back a new awareness of the social, political and historical reality of Mexico, and the U.S. involvement in reality. It’s also an opportunity for students to walk in someone else’s shoes, to get out of our own comfort level and see how another culture lives,” said Roberts.

The trip will consist of 10 days where students will immerse themselves into the Mexican culture. The students will fly into Chiapas rather than take bus as they did last year. As for the problems that students encompassed last year, Roberts can only say that “one can never be absolutely sure there won’t be any problems taking an international trip. Much of the success is determined by the students’ commitment to making the trip a success.”

In Mexico they will be visiting government officials, families, indigenous communities, archeological sites, museums, social service agencies, and hearing lectures on the state of Mexico historically and today.

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