Studying abroad does not always involve studying, at least not for the spring break Paris trip.
A group of 20 Palm Beach Atlantic students ventured to Paris, France March 4 through 11 with faculty sponsor Dr. Craig Hanson without any associated course requirement. One course credit was given to those who wanted it; the only designated assignment involved students writing reflection pieces detailing their time in France.
This is the second time PBA has made a trip to France.
“[The Paris trip] is different because it is short term and the studying attached to it is more of an on-sight and it’s not through another university like our semester-long programs but rather through a faculty member,” said Study Abroad Coordinator Adrianna Gatlin, who works in the Rinker Center for Experiential Learning (CEL).
Hanson describes the trip as being purely cultural; its purpose is to have students learn about how to live in the city of Paris.
“This trip is different than others because it is meant for students to explore on their own,” Hanson said. “The group meets a few times to learn how to use the metro system and how to get around, but the point is to learn how to… thrive in a foreign culture.”
Although the dates have yet to be determined, Hanson would like to sponsor another Paris trip within the next two years. He believes the number of students will be cut to about 8 or 9; each sponsor is responsible for choosing the number of students able to forgo their study abroad trip.
“The chances of going abroad with a student who is irresponsible… get higher the larger the group that you have,” Hanson said.
He did, however, mention that no irresponsible students accompanied him to France in 2017. Although the trip ran smoothly, Hanson noted the sustained rainfall and extremely frigid temperatures were relatively unappealing.
The trip may not be hosted yearly due to professional obligations; Hanson noted he loses a valuable work week each time he takes on the trip. It is possible for faculty members to submit applications to sponsor trips like this one; Gatlin expressed she would be glad to see Hanson back to host upcoming Paris trips.
Students who traveled to Paris over spring break have been inspired to spend more time in Paris through a semester abroad.
For any given trip, if the goal amount of student sign-ups is met, there may be extra money, which can be used to buy passes for attractions for students to explore.
According to Gatlin, PBA makes no profits and takes no losses from study abroad programs. Budgeting is molded to accommodate students abroad at the most affordable price.
Gatlin clarified that the number of students partaking in an excursion does not necessarily correlate with its price; everything depends on the travel agency utilized. The CEL office budgets as conservatively as possible so students can go afford the travels.
The CEL office is primarily in charge of the technological software which manages international student travel. Software issues are common; Gatlin said solving these crises is the bread and butter of the CEL office. Updates within the software this year have helped the process.
The CEL office encourages students to apply and to study abroad, and notes that while prices change every year, it will ensure students are provided the most economical rates possible. A credit option has been added, which will allow students to be billed directly through their student accounts as opposed to through a travel agency.