By Alvin Fowlkes, Business Faculty Member and Study Abroad Coordinator
I’ve long believed that traveling provides people with the best education on the planet. You’re able to see and learn things firsthand and immerse yourself in another culture. Not only do you learn about other countries and people, but you discover so much about yourself in the process. ECPI University’s Study Abroad Program allows students to see and explore the world and increase their confidence and competence through language and cultural immersion.
This past fall, we traveled to Spain and Morocco, and to say this was an experience of a lifetime would be an understatement. It was truly a rich and unforgettable adventure for all of our 33 travelers.
In Spain, we saw priceless works of art by world-renowned artists in the Museo de Prado and the Reina Sofía, museums known respectively worldwide for their vast collection of old world traditional and contemporary art. We visited centuries-old edifices such as the breathtaking Toledo Cathedral and the majestic Alhambra Palace. We enjoyed a traditional Tapas dinner in Madrid, went to a Flamenco show in Sevilla and walked a beach on the Mediterranean Sea in Costa del Sol. We even saw the gravesite of Christopher Columbus.
From there, we visited Gibraltar; officially a British colony, whose three square miles host over 44 nationalities. Its most famous site, the 1400-foot Rock of Gibraltar, hosts a different species altogether, the Barbary monkeys which are the only primates in Europe. From the top of the Rock you can see into Africa, the only place you can do so in all of Europe. Inside of the Rock is a concert hall the likes of which we had never seen, complete with a stage, colorful lighting, and outstanding natural acoustics.
Next, we took a ferry over to the continent of Africa into Tangier, where we then proceeded to Fes, a Moroccan city often referred to as the country’s cultural capital and visited the medina; a city within the city and the oldest walled part of Fes, founded as the capital of the Idrisid dynasty between 789 and 808 AD. The medina is home to some of the most incredible and ornate handcrafted tile and metal artwork anywhere in the world.
We visited the ruins of Volubilis, some of the best preserved Roman ruins in North Africa, founded in 3rd century B.C. We visited historical Rabat, had a traditional Moroccan dinner complete with belly dancing and a musical exhibition. Before leaving, we experienced the hustle and bustle of Casablanca; the largest city in Morocco.
All of our students agreed, they could have never imagined encountering so much history and culture in one trip. This was a terrific experience and my hope is that more people take advantage of this opportunity.
This October, we will be traveling to the countries of Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand, yet another experience of a lifetime. All students and alumni – as well as their family and friends –are eligible to go on the trip. If you are interested, please contact me via email at [email protected] for more information and details. I encourage all students to consider joining us. This is your chance to see the world in a unique and unforgettable way. Get your passport and let’s start traveling. The world is waiting on you. Let’s see it together.