Stanly Community College's (SCC) community travel and study abroad group traveled to Spain from May 25-June 4 under the direction of global education coordinator Patricia Horner. The purpose of the trip was to educate community and student participants about the rich and vibrant culture of Spain. The trip was designed as a study of the local culture, heritage, and rhythms of daily life in Spain. SCC's program is unique because it allows both community participants and course-credit-seeking students to share travel experiences.
"I loved taking community members and students to share this amazing culture and its people, food and traditions," said Horner, who attended and received her master's degree in Spanish Culture and Language from the University of Salamanca in Spain.
Participants visited Madrid, Cordoba, Toledo, Seville, Granada, Valencia and Barcelona. They explored the renowned Prado Museum, the Mosque of the Caliphs, which has been transformed into a cathedral in Cordoba, the Alhambra Palace and Gardens, and unique architecture of Valencia.
"Seeing the transformation that occurs when people immerse themselves into another culture is so meaningful to me," said Horner. "When people become a part of that culture through its people, food, tradition, art and music, even for a short time, it is life changing."
Immersion student Blake Brewer said, "When I arrived home, everyone wanted to know how it was, and I tried my best to tell the highlights, but this was hard because everything was a highlight! The trip was like a dream." Another student, David Cummens, described the trip as "impactful."
Horner's emphasis is on culture. She discourages the students from seeking American restaurants and encourages them to get out of their comfort zones and fully immerse in the cultures where they travel.
Community traveler Colleen Conroy, who also traveled with SCC to Peru in 2015, said, "Traveling with the cultural immersion group from Stanly Community College proves to be a wonderful experience every time. It is a wonderful way to see the world while interacting with my hometown community and making new friends. I am grateful to Stanly Community College for being inclusive by allowing members of the community to enjoy spending time and sharing the culture with students."
Students and community members who are interested in the 2018 trip, which is tentatively scheduled for Ecuador and the Galapagos, should contact Patricia Horner at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 704.991.0395.
Stanly Community College's community travel and study abroad group recently traveled to Spain. The group pauses for a picture taken at the interior of the Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba.