The Honors Program has no shortage of perks, but not much beats traveling across the world with a handful of your favorite honors students and staff. With this in mind, we are taking this opportunity to feature the upcoming Honors Global Seminar to Spain -- a core curriculum fulfilling course combined with the trip of a lifetime.
Led by Dr. Paul and Stacey Wanta, this 2+2 credit course examines the coexistence of religion and culture in early modern Spain and how these relationships are still evident today. Participating students spend the fall semester studying the history and cultural perspectives of the region, which provides the valuable knowledge to heighten their in-country experience. Furthermore, students are asked to develop a key question to guide their final project, using their time in Spain to find evidence and gain deeper understanding. Viewing the cities as text and exploring alongside other inquisitive students allow participants to gain an unforgettable academic, cultural, and social experience!
From January 3 - 16, this group of Honors students will truly be experiencing the best Spain has to offer! While immersing themselves in the culture of flamenco and tapas, students will have the opportunity to visit world-renowned museums such as the Prado, majestic architectural works such as the Alhambra, and equally intriguing sites in each of the cities they will be visiting -- Málaga, Granada, Sevilla, Toledo, Cuenca, and Madrid.
Upon their return home with memories to last a lifetime, students will work toward answering their initial project question, and celebrate the completion of the course with traditional Spanish food, Spain trip memories, and final presentations to the entire trip group.
Kelsey Motto, a senior honors student who participated in the global seminar this past January, shares that she experienced the trip of a lifetime. “This is a great experience to really embrace the Spanish culture for two weeks and learn about the history of Spain hands-on!” Motto says. “Dr. Paul and Stacey work so hard to make this trip such a great experience, and they sure do an outstanding job.” Additionally, Kelsey points to two of the quintessential aspects of the Spanish culture that students should not miss -- architecture and food -- specifically the tapas, gelato, and intricate designs of the doors. Furthermore, she is excited for this upcoming group of honors students to experience, first-hand, a unique history so much older than American culture.
Stacey Wanta, the Honors Office Coordinator who assists with the coordination of this trip, is also very much looking forward to the experience. “What I look forward to the most about the global seminar experience,” she says, “is the opportunity that it gives me to really get to know our students. We spend A LOT of time together over the course of two weeks - hours in the airport, on the trains to our next city, walking together on the tours, sitting together during breakfast or enjoying tapas - these are perfect opportunities for good conversation and plenty of laughs. I have the unique opportunity hear each student's story while sharing this incredible experience in a country that I've grown to love.”
Sophomore honors student Reilly March will be attending the global seminar this coming January. “I have been studying Spanish for close to eight years now, and for me, this global seminar was a no-brainer. Not only have I wanted to go to Spain for years, but I get an opportunity to travel and fulfill multiple requirements at the same time,” Reilly says. “I am also thrilled to be able to travel with Honors Program and some of my closest friends. People have asked me numerous times, ‘What's the point of being in the Honors Program?’ and I really believe it's being exposed to opportunities like this. The community aspect of the Honors Program is so important, and this trip will enhance that by also shaping us into better members of a global community that we sometimes forget were a part of.”
Although this will not be Reilly’s first time abroad, this experience is often the first time honors students are able to travel outside of the country. "Some of the greatest moments on the trip, and they happen each year, are those spent watching the students who have never traveled abroad (and sometimes never traveled at all) gain experience and confidence,” says Wanta. “I love to see them grow and become less tentative when trying new foods, or ordering alone from a menu written in Spanish, taking the metro for the first time, or successfully navigating the neighborhoods of the cities we visit. It is really hard to describe how incredibly satisfying and meaningful it is to me knowing that this experience may give them a whole new outlook on the world and a good deal of courage to travel abroad again in the future."
Experiences such as these are truly once in a lifetime, and we are so excited for the students to learn, grow, and better appreciate the complexity and connectedness of the world around us. Buen viaje!