Faculty-led trips offer shorter, more affordable study abroad alternative

K-State students attend faculty led trips sponsored by the university. (Courtesy photo by Logan Evers)

Students looking to gain international experience, but who may not have the time or finances to study abroad for a semester, might want to look into faculty-led trips.

According to K-State’s Education Abroad office, a “faculty-led program combines a course with a short-term study tour abroad, in which a K-State instructor leads a group of students abroad over breaks, intersessions or summer.”

Mary Fishburn, junior in speech pathology, traveled on a faculty-led tour to Germany through her organ studio in the school of music, theatre and dance over this past winter break.

“The purpose of the trip was to see, learn about and play 14 historical German organs,” Fishburn said. “I learned a lot of history about organs, Germany and World War II while I was there. I learned some of the mechanics of organs and how they work, the difference in sounds and pipes in the various instruments, and I also got to see how organs are made.”

Chance Hunley, senior in agricultural communications and journalism, said he saw the shorter program as a benefit of his trip to Ireland with the department of communications and agricultural education over Thanksgiving break in 2016.

“(A) faculty-led tour is a shorter amount of time,” Hunley said. “This makes the trip affordable and allows you to still take classes from K-State, since most faculty-led tours occur on breaks.”

A faculty-led tour gave Logan Evers, junior in agronomy, the opportunity to travel to Brazil over this past winter break without requiring him to leave home for a long period of time, which he said was important to him.

“Because I work on a family farm, it is hard to be away for extended periods of time,” Evers said.

Faculty plan the schedule for students and provide leadership while on the tour.

“Dr. Pickering was able to line up everything,” Fishburn said. “His knowledge, experience and connections allowed us to experience many things that we never would’ve been able to experience otherwise.”

Faculty-led programs also allow larger groups of students to travel together.

“I spent over a week with students that I still have classes with, and it has led to great memories and experiences,” Hunley said. “I would recommend it to anyone that has even had the tiniest thought of international travel.”

Students have a wide range of opportunity for faculty-led programs and can search for programs through the Education Abroad office.

“It was a great experience that I would do again in a heartbeat if my bank account would allow me,” Hunley said.