Flagler College's Study Abroad Trips Gives Students Life-Changing Experiences

May 26, 2022
Flagler College offers a wide selection of study abroad programs that let students develop a global perspective while gaining real-world skills. During the spring 2022 semester, three different faculty-led trips gave students an opportunity of a lifetime to better understand the world around them by traveling to Ghana, Poland, and Panama.

Lisa Fiala, an Adjunct Instructor, led the two-week Ghana FlagSHIP trip in January. The students and Fiala explored the cities of Accra, Cape Coast, and Kumasi, where they studied international development within the Ghana context and submerged themselves in the local culture. During their trip, students met with local NGOs such as Trashy Bags, which makes bags out of recycled fabrics/water sachets, and the Soronko Academy, which teaches girls how to code.

Additionally, they toured the Peace Corps' Ghana office and met with local University Ghana students. They even visited Cape Coast Castle to learn how several Ghanaians were imprisoned before being forced to leave their home country as enslaved people. Students participated in many cultural activities such as Ghanian cooking, Twi language & drumming classes, visiting a Kente weaving village, and walking one of the highest canopy walks in the world at Kakum.

"Working with this group of students was one of the best experiences of my life," Fiala stated. "They showed a tremendous amount of comradery, incredible flexibility, adaptability and should be congratulated for their ever-joyful spirits and support for each other."

Panama Study Abroad Trip

Dr. Charoni, Associate Professor of Romance Languages, led the study abroad trip to Panama during spring break. Students learned about modern Panama history, including the Canal, U.S. Invasion, current social norms, education, and economy. In addition, they immersed themselves in the culture by staying with families in Panama City, where they experienced daily life in a Latin American City. While in Panama City, the students explored the Museo de Biodiversidad, the Panama Canal, Casco Viejo, La Vieja, Amador Causeway, Museo Mala and local markets.

They traveled to three comarcas (administrative regions) of the indigenous territories of Embera Drua, Embera Maje, and Kuna Yala. They also discussed each indigenous group's history, culture, and challenges. For example, in Kuna Yala, they visited a school where the Intercultural Bilingual Education Project (EBI) is applied, spent a night on Aroma Island in San Blas Archipelago, experienced traditional dances, and enjoyed the local cuisine. 

"It was an amazing experience for the students; they have been exposed to a diverse cultural context they wouldn't have seen if it wasn't for this trip," Dr. Charoni stated. "My recommendation for every student is to go abroad before graduating. It's a life-changing experience, rich in knowledge and memories that opens up new avenues to the future."

Poland Study Abroad Trip

Dr. Brenda Kauffman, Associate Professor of Social Sciences, and Dr. John Young, Associate Professor of History, led the Poland trip during spring break. The students who went as part of Dr. John Young and Dr. Arthur Vanden Houten's genocide learning community were eager to study the region's history. 

Each student and faculty member traveled to Prague, Czechia, Krakow, and Warsaw, Poland, gaining first-hand knowledge of the historical and contemporary Jewish culture. In addition, the group visited the memorial sites of Terezin and Auschwitz, which gave students a chance to take a closer look at life in the Ghetto and the concentration camps.

For more information on Flagler College's study abroad trips, click here or view the list below of trips happening during Maymester and Summer 2022 terms:

  1. Chris Balaschak – Germany (Berlin Art | Public Memory)
  2. Barbara Blonder & Terri Seron – Bermuda (Bermuda's Coral Reefs & Shipwrecks)
  3. Mike Butler – Ireland (Irish Independence: The Easter Rising and its Consequences)
  4. Eugenia Charoni – France (Southern France: Montpelier – Culture & History)
  5. Tracey Eaton – Jordan (Strategic Communication for Water Sustainability)
  6. Lisa Fiala – Bulgaria (International Relations: Cultural Immersion in Bulgaria)
  7. Jessica Howell – Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia (The Balkans: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly)
  8. Tim Johnson – Germany (Monuments & Memories: America and Germany in Dialogue)
  9. Brenda Kauffman & Lori Lee - Trinidad
  10. Nic Miller – Portugal (Portugal: History & Culture)
  11. Deborah Teague – Italy (Immersion in Venice: Travel Writing about the Culture, People, & Future of the Sinking City)
  12. Jessica Veenstra – Jordan (Water Scarcity, Science, & Sustainability)