Travel in someone else’s footsteps

A six-hour flight to Germany, another one-hour flight to Paris, endless hours on a bus, a trip to the coast, tours of the inner cities and more memories than I will ever be able to write about. That is what traveling with a class to Europe meant to me. Western Carolina University offers many classes where students can not only learn about a subject, but they can travel to another country and get a hands-on experience.I took a class called “A Journey through Literature.” In there, we studied expatriates like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. They traveled extensively throughout Europe, and many of their stories take place there, as well. But after spending an entire semester studying these writers and their stories, the fun had only just begun. After learning so much about the novels, we traveled to Paris and Barcelona to see the places they talked about first-hand. It was a chance of a lifetime to walk in the footsteps of such literary geniuses.But this wasn’t a one-time-only class. There are numerous classes that give these types of experiences. But the trick is knowing where to find out about them. Several departments within the university have set up classes that offer both book learning and a live experience of travel. When the English department develops one of these classes, it is typically in the spring semester, and they travel at the beginning of the summer. Space is limited, however, and the classes are typically small. Other departments, like the foreign language department also occasionally hold classes where travel is integrated into the curriculum. These classes are a great way to gain experience in a foreign language in a group atmosphere without the scariness of an entire semester abroad.If you are interested in taking a class like this, then keep your eyes out during the fall semester. There will be flyers advertising the class right before registration is set to begin for the Spring Semester. Try going to the English department or the foreign language department and asking if they are going to hold a class that travels. But be careful, these types of classes aren’t always offered every year. So keep your eyes out and watch for when the next one will be offered.When given the opportunity to take a class that travels, don’t turn it down. It is one of the most gratifying experiences in college. The trips are typically affordable, and in some cases, financial aid is available to those who are eligible.