George Fox students visit the far reaches of the globe

George Fox students on Juniors AbroadMore than 200 George Fox University undergraduates — and 20-plus Master of Arts in Teaching students — recently returned from more than a dozen international study trips to Asia, Africa, Western Europe, Central America, Egypt, New Guinea, New Zealand and Ecuador.

The May undergraduate study tours were part of the university’s Juniors Abroad program. Since 1987, the program has sent third- and fourth-year students on three-week overseas study trips led by professors. Excursions have reached every continent except Antarctica. George Fox pays transportation and program costs; students pay room and board. Each trip holds preparation classes during the spring semester.

With more than two-thirds of its undergraduates participating in study abroad programs, George Fox University is a national leader in providing international experiences to its students.

A brief description of this year’s Juniors Abroad trips:

Amsterdam to Paris
This trip is traveling to Amsterdam and Haarlem in Holland; Ghent and Bruges in Belgium; and Rouen, Bayuex, Normandy, and Paris in France. Students are seeing the work of artists Vermeer, Van Gogh, Memling, Rembrandt, Degas, and Cezanne. They also are visitng the Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum, and the Van Gogh Museum, among other historical sites.

Planned site visits on this trip include schools, hospitals, local businesses and economic projects supported/managed by local churches and other nongovernmental organizations. The plan is also to visit refugee camps, traditional villages and farms, historical sites (such as former slave holding “castles” used during the slave trade), trading markets, ecological sites (such as a rainforest “walk”) and art and cultural centers.

Ireland and Scotland
This trip is focusing on the history of spirituality in Ireland and Scotland. Both Scotland and Ireland have an interesting history of incorporating ancient beliefs into Christianity and beyond, and students are tracing some of the threads of influence in both cultures, from Druids to Saints to cross-cultural influences. Stops include Dublin, Kildare, Glendalough, Kells, Newgrange, Glasgow, St. Andrews and Edinburgh.

New Zealand
Students on this trip are traveling throughout portions of both the North and South Islands of New Zealand, visiting historical sites in places like Christchurch, Dunedin and Auckland. They also are exploring the beauty of New Zealand by visiting Queenstown, Milford Sound and by seeing the mountains and glaciers. They are taking part in many outdoor opportunities, including hiking, climbing and many water activities.

Costa Rica and Honduras
This study tour is focusing on the contrasts between the different cultures, ecosystems and rainforests of these countries. It is a trip of great contrasts, from lush tropical rainforests and jungles teeming with tropical flora and fauna to hot sunny beaches; from bright sunny days to steamy tropical downpours; and from sleepy laid-back villages with ancient pyramids and temples to bustling modern cities with all the comforts of modern life.

Rwanda and Uganda
This tour is exploring the remote regions of Africa and includes visits to a genocide memorial and an orphanage for AIDS victims. Students also are rafting down the White Nile, hiking the vicinity of Lake Victoria (source of the Nile), and encountering lions, giraffe, antelope, zebras and warthogs on the African Savannah.

Rome to Paris
This tour is highlighting the art, history, and architecture of medieval and Renaissance Europe. The group is visiting Rome, Pompeii, Florence, Tuscany, Salzburg and Paris. Highlights of the trip include the hillside villages along the Mediterranean Sea, a concentration camp known as Dachau, and the beaches of Normandy.

Italy and Germany
This trip is designed to enhance students’ appreciation of the richness found in the history, arts, land and people of Italy and Germany, with a special emphasis given to the correspondence between historical events and the art produced during Classical, Medieval and Renaissance periods. Students are on an eight-city tour that includes visits to the ruins of the Coliseum, the Catacombs, the Imperial Forum, St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, Santa Maria del Fiori in Florence, and the fairytale castles of Mad King Ludwig’s Bavaria.

China and Tibet
On this trip, students are experiencing the culture, people, history and environment at the top of the world. Tibet is an isolated province in western China and is home to the tallest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest. To access Tibet, the group is starting in Beijing, China, where students are exploring the Beijing treasures, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven, and the Great Wall.

This trip is focusing on providing foundational knowledge of the history and culture of Egypt. Of special interest are visits to Coptic and Muslim Cairo, as well as stops at the Great Pyramids of Egypt. Students are exploring the history of Egypt with visits to the Pyramids of Giza and the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. In addition, they are taking a cruise on the Nile, climbing Mt Sinai, and snorkeling in the Red Sea.

Rome to Berlin
This trip is designed to be a pilgrimage in the oldest sense of the word—a journey to special places for Christian faith in Europe. Students are taking time to linger at these places of special meaning in hopes that, like pilgrims of old, they receive a spiritual deepening. Stops include visits to St. Peter’s Cathedral and the Sistine Chapel in Rome, the faith community in Taize, France, and the cities of Geneva and Berlin.

This cross-cultural experience is taking students to Nicaragua for three weeks – two weeks of service and study with some of the poorest of the poor, and one week of debriefing and sightseeing. Students are working in collaboration with a missions ministry based at the Villa de Esperanza, a facility that provides poor children with a safe and sanitary place to grow, learn, and meet Christ. The last week will be spent debriefing at the colonial town of Granada and relaxing in the beach town of San Juan del Sur.

New Guinea
Participants in this theatre cross-cultural study trip are in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to share cultural stories orally and dramatically with students from the Lutheran University of Papua New Guinea in the coastal city of Lae and with members of the National Performing Arts Troupe of PNG in the highlands town of Goroka.

MAT students in Quito, Ecuador
In addition to those student on Juniors Abroad, more than 20 Master of Arts in Teaching students are doing their first 30-hour practicum in Quito, Ecuador, as part of a three-week international study trip. The group is spending mornings in both public and private school classrooms, while afternoons are being spent in Spanish immersion classes. Two weekend trips are planned for Banos and Otavallo.

Check out a slideshow featuring photos from previous Juniors Abroad trips.