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Interterm offers international study, adventure

Sarah Sleeger
Staff Writer

Every year La Verne students are provided with the opportunity to embark on the trip of a lifetime.

Regardless of their major, students could be spending up to two weeks in Italy, Japan and the Galapagos, among countless other locations.

In January 2012, Jeffery Burkhart, professor of biology, is planning this January trip to Sabah, Malaysia.

“It’s a nice blend of academic work (…) and cultural exposure,” Burkhart said.

Instead of staying behind for the intensive month-long January interterm, students are signing up and preparing for the trip where they get to take a vacation all while learning about the area.

Not only do these students get to learn about the culture, education and overall life of the area, but they also receive credit for it.

Other trips planned in January term include those to Italy, Malaysia, Peru, Japan and Spain.

Every year, these locations change to give the students different opportunities.

In the past, students have visited London, Paris, Kenya, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Vietnam, Mexico and various other places around the world.

Usually, the cost for the trip varies depending on the location and the length of time. This year’s trips to Malaysia and Italy will cost around $3,000.

That may sound like a hefty price tag, but it includes food, transportation and hotel for the 10-day stay.

The students also have the option of using their financial aid packages to cover the cost of the trip.

“We do it as cheaply as we can,” Burkhart said. “It’s cheaper than it would be if you were traveling for vacation.”

“I hope to go with the biology department on their trip to shoot pictures and video,” Don Pollock, professor of communications, said in a email.

“I am encouraging communications students to go on the trip to photograph and videotape the trip experience: the Borneo rainforest and the wild animal life of Borneo (such as) orangutans, elephants, crocodiles and more,” Pollock said.

There is also a trip going to Venice, Florence and Rome, Italy.

For nine days, students will have the opportunity to see St. Mark’s Square, the University of Bologna, Piazza della Signoria, Vatican City, the Colosseum, as well as many other famous and historical locations.

“It was a really great learning experience,” alumna Jocelyn Bravo said. “I learned a lot about the culture and history of the places we visited.”

However, January interterm trips are not all vacation.

There is work to be done and things to be learned from visiting these locations, whether it is the wildlife in the rainforest or the education system in the city of Bologna.

These trips can be important experiences for students because they offer a once in a lifetime trip that may not be available again after they graduate.

“The students can become less reluctant to travel, and get a better sense of culture,” Burkhart said. “It’s one of the most valuable learning experiences for students.”

Sarah Sleeger can be reached at sarah.sleeger@laverne.edu.

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