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Exotic destinations await La Verne students

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A variety of overseas travel opportunities will be offered during the January interterm.

Angie Marcos
LV Life Editor

Several departments at the University are offering students the opportunity to venture to foreign countries in January – allowing them to immerse themselves in different cultures, all the while, receiving credits for their experience.

The five international study options include trips to Italy, Greece, India, Costa Rica and Vietnam.

“Unless you live it, you really don’t understand it,” said Rita Thakur, associate dean of the College of Business and Public Management.

Thakur is taking a group of 23 students to Italy and Greece for 10 days in January.

“What I’m looking forward to is the students’ eye-opening experiences,” Thakur said.

Some of her students, she said will be flying for the very first time.

“I look forward to seeing the twinkle in the eyes of the students who have never travelled,” Thakur said.

Sharon Davis, professor of sociology, and Kim Martin, professor of anthropology, are planning a two-week India trip.

Students are able to earn up to five units by participating in the trip.

At an Oct. 15 presentation put together by all of the professors hosting the various trips, Davis said both she and Martin love to travel and experience the different cultures of the areas they get to visit.

Last January the pair spent 13 days in Egypt with ULV students visiting the Nile River and various palaces and tombs.

“We had lots of different opportunities and visited different places,” Davis said.

Davis and Martin first visited India two years ago for a meeting.

“It was a favorite of ours and one we knew we had to return to,” Davis said. “It will be a two week experience.”

On the India itinerary is a visit to the well-known Taj Mahal.

Cindy Giaimo-Ballard, assistant professor of education, is hosting a 12 day Italy trip where students will visit cities including Rome, Venice, Florence and Bologna.

“This is a brand new course,” Giaimo-Ballard said.

“What I’m looking forward to most is really seeing the educational systems in Italy and the way they run,” Giaimo-Ballard said. “I’m hoping (students) really see the differences in the educational systems.”

“Culture is a big part of the course, as well as ethics,” she said. “They will learn about the Italian culture.”

“I have been doing this for the past three years,” Thakur said. Previous trips led by Thakur visited China and Japan.

“The most important part for me is to help students realize that life is different in other places,” Thakur said. “I hope to give them the yearning of travel for the rest of their lives.”

Deborah Olson, assistant professor of management and leadership, is hosting a trip to Costa Rica with 12 participants. Students will be staying with local families in Costa Rica.

Jeffery Burkhart, professor of biology, and Jay Jones, professor of biology and biochemistry, will host a trip to Vietnam.

Davis recommends January interterm trips for students who don’t know how they would fare for a semester abroad.

It would be a sort of trial run, she said.

“It is going to benefit students of all majors,” Giaimo-Ballard said.

Angie Marcos can be reached at

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