Two spring courses to offer travel experience for students

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New England College has a rich history of travel and immersion trips connected to a diverse class range and during the spring term, students in two courses will have the opportunity to experience learning outside of the classroom.

Students can travel to Tennessee and Mississippi as part of the “Politics in the Civil Rights Movement” class, or Scotland in the class “Education & Perspectives: Power of Storytelling.”

In the past, students have traveled to places such as Amsterdam, Australia, and Africa.

Dr. Nicole Decoteau, Director of English as a Second or Other Language, led a trip to Amsterdam in the spring of 2023.

“I really enjoy introducing students to travel opportunities, and typically what happens is we come back from them and they’re really excited to go do something more,” Decoteau said.

“I’ve taken students on three different trips at different times, some within the US, some outside the US, and so far, I’ve never had an issue with students not being respectful, once the trip is on it seems to go fairly well,” she said.

Bryan Partridge, a creative writing professor, has proudly led 11 immersion trips and said planning is challenging but the work is rewarding.

“We do a lot of team building in the beginning, asking the question of what type of class do we want to be, what type of traveler do we want to be, how do we want to negotiate situations of stress when we’re traveling with people who we may have just met at the beginning of the semester,” Partridge said. 

Partridge took a class to the Serengeti and said there was one moment that stands out.

“In the morning I came out and I went to go get a couple of students for breakfast and there was an elephant 50 yards away from their tent. I got to witness them come out of there and experience this huge elephant 50 yards from where they stood and see the just awe-inspiring expression on their face,” he said.

Dr. Nathan Shrader, a political science professor, is planning the trip to Tennessee and Mississippi for the spring of 2024.

“The course really should be interesting for anyone who has an interest in civil rights but also both politics, history and even sociology because those are all going to be core elements of it,” Shrader said. “We’re going to be meeting with some of the still living civil rights leaders who are around in those areas, getting pictures with them and getting to talk to them.” 

The trip will also include visiting historical sites.

“We’re going to be stopping at places like the courthouse where the trial for the murders of Emmett Till was held, and seeing the Emmett Till Interpretive Center. We’ll also see the B.B. King Blues Center on the Blues Trail and visit some famous barbecue and soul food places that are historically and culturally significant,” Shader said.

Students interested in learning more about the spring 2024 trips can contact Shrader at NShrader@nec.edu or Dr. Jessica Morris at JMorris@nec.edu

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