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Northeast Community College Students Continue To See The World

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NORFOLK – Eleven Northeast Community College students and three faculty leaders had an opportunity to experience the beauty and culture of Spain and Italy over the summer, resulting in many wonderful memories and rare experiences.  The trip was part of Northeast’s growing Global Educational Opportunities initiative, which has been designated as one of the College’s eight institutional priorities.

Four students from the Norfolk campus and seven from Northeast’s extended campus in South Sioux City traveled with leaders Wendy Swenson, Spanish instructor; Kristi Rastede, English instructor; and Pam Saalfeld, associate dean for humanities, arts and social sciences and global opportunities co-chair.  Their trip took them to Madrid and Barcelona in Spain; Venice, Rome and a rare day-trip to the ruins of Pompeii in Italy.

“There aren’t many people who can say they have been to Pompeii,” Saalfeld said.  “That was definitely a highlight of the trip for many of us.”

Other highpoints for the students included gondola rides in Venice; a tour of the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel; Flamenco dancing lessons; a hands-on historic presentation on gladiators; and a night tour of Rome’s Coliseum.

Northeast Community College students and faculty pose in front of the Coliseum in Rome on a recent College-sponsored trip to Italy and Spain. (Courtesy Pam Saalfeld/Northeast Community College)

Northeast Community College students and faculty pose in front of the Coliseum in Rome on a recent College-sponsored trip to Italy and Spain. (Courtesy Pam Saalfeld/Northeast Community College)

In addition to touring world famous sites, the students actually learned how to travel, according to Saalfeld.

“This trip had students traveling in planes, trains, busses, boats, and on the underground metros,” she said.  “The real goal of trips like these is for students to experience and master travel of all kinds so that they feel more prepared to travel again – maybe independently next time.”

Students pay for trips similar to this one to Spain and Italy, making regular monthly payments throughout the school year.  They are responsible for the costs of obtaining a passport, as well as their essentials while traveling, such as adapters and most meals.

“It takes commitment on everyone’s part because traveling isn’t cheap.  However, the cost of any travel experience is outweighed by the life experiences one takes away from it,” Saalfeld said.

In order to prepare for their travels, the students were enrolled in a three-credit class dedicated to educating the students about the places they would see while abroad, the cultural differences they would experience, and how to prepare for international travel, in general.  Swenson was the primary instructor for the class.  She also taught the students some Spanish phrases they might need while in Spain; however, several of the students speak Spanish, so they enjoyed utilizing those skills while there.

Northeast Community College, through its Title III grant, has a higher education version of Rosetta Stone that allows students enrolled in language classes to participate in a virtual language lab.  Students were able to access Italian lessons as part of the class.

The travel itself was a one-credit hour class, which meant students had homework while they traveled abroad.

“Education is the main focus of all of our travel opportunities at Northeast,” Saalfeld said.  “So while there is plenty of fun involved, students are also aware that they are in class, so to speak, and earning a grade.”

Student travelers included Adrianna Aleman, Andrew Collins, Elizabeth Aldana-Cruz, Wendy Gonzalez, Rebeca Quezada, and Isaac Ramirez, all of South Sioux City; Michelle Anderson, Lawton, IA, Kathryn Kuchta, Randolph; Ashley Laferriere and Jackson Miller, both of Norfolk; and Carley Watts, Osceola.

In addition to faculty-led travel experiences for students, Northeast has Memorandums of Understanding with North Lindsey College in Scunthorpe, England, resulting in several student exchanges; Aarhus Business College in Aarhus, Denmark, resulting in a faculty exchange; and an articulation agreement with Middlesex University in London, England.




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The official student newspaper of Northeast Community College.
Northeast Community College Students Continue To See The World