In the last several years, GHC has taken trips to a number of places, including Australia, Costa Rica and several different trips to Europe. These trips and the courses associated with them have enabled students to participate in fun and unique learning experiences.
Most recently, the college sent several trips to Costa Rica, where students and faculty have spent time at the University of Georgia's campus at Monteverde, Costa Rica. Students on these trips toured a coffee plantation and a cloud forest. Other activities included zip lining, horse back riding and one day at the beach. Students also stayed with Costa Rican families, which was a fantastic way to learn about Costa Rican culture. Katie Sparks, a GHC student on the 2016 Costa Rica spring break trip remarked that "my study abroad trip to Costa Rica was a life altering experience. My passion for Latin culture and the Spanish language only grew while I was there. I grew confident as I was able to have conversations with locals in Monteverde. My homestay father was so encouraging as I put my skills to practice."
Students on the 2016 GHC Costa Rica spring break trip (above)
For a better sense of GHC's Costa Rica trips, please see the brief video made about the 2015 GHC Costa Rica spring break trip as follows:
In May 2014,the college also sent a group to the Dominican Republic for a service learning trip. This trip was a wonderful experience that allowed students to help others and learn about the culture of the Dominican Republic. In June 2014, the college sent a trip to London, Normandy and Paris for the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The highlight of this incredible trip was the ceremony at Omaha Beach on June 6, 2014 that honored Americans who helped liberate France during the Second World War. Our students attended this ceremony in which president Barack Obama and French president François Hollande spoke. Students visited the cemetary and Ohama beach and met some of the veterans that attended. For more information, see some of the local media's coverage of this trip:
Rome News Tribune:
The Daily Tribune (Cartersville):
Earlier GHC study abroad trips have also received coverage. A GHC study abroad trip in May of 2011 took students to Great Britain, the Netherlands and Belgium. This trip was featured in the following "Highlander" article.
In May 2012, GHC had study abroad trips to Ireland and Italy and Greece. GHC student Kaitlyn Lindly, who went on the Ireland trip, commented as follows on her time in Ireland:
"I experienced so much on this trip I don't even know where to begin... In all my favorite part of the trip was just the location. Ireland is such a peaceful place and it's a good "home away from home". The people are kind and the experience was amazing. The small village atmosphere really draws in fast pace people like us. it really made me see how hectic our lives really are. I would love to go back soon, the feeling of rest was unexplainable. I'm very grateful that I was able to go."
Here are some photos of the Ireland trip, May 2012.
GHC's trip to Italy and Greece was also a great success. Alex MacMurdo, one of the faculty leaders for this trip, has written an article about the trip below:
Italy & Greece: Benvenuto and Kalós orísate (Welcome!)
By Alexandra MacMurdo
Georgia Highlands College went to Italy & Greece with the Study Abroad program in May of 2012. Lecturer of Communication Alexandra MacMurdo and Assistant Professor of English Michelle Abbott led 12 students to the Italian cities of Rome, Florence, Naples, Sorrento and Pompeii. Stops in Greece included Delphi, Athens, and a spectacular 3-day cruise of the Greek isles.
Main attractions visited in Rome were the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain. A special treat was visiting Vatican City - a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world by both area and population – and one can even get their passport stamped while there! There are no adequate words to describe the beauty of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. A unique honor to many of the students was having religious items they purchased at the Vatican City gift shop blessed by the Roman Catholic Church.
Two incredible experiences were climbing to the top of Mt. Vesuvius and seeing the lost city of Pompeii. Mt. Vesuvius, located in the Bay of Naples, Italy, is best known for its eruption in AD 79 that led to the burying and catastrophic destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
One cannot mention Italy without answering the burning question many of you are wondering: was the pizza and pasta really better than in the United States? The answer to that question is an unequivocal YES!
Greece – although a short trip by night ferry, literally took us to another world. Our first day en route to Delphi we stopped for lunch at a family restaurant overlooking Clovino beach where we enjoyed a delicious meal and a quick dip in the cold water of Ionian Sea. In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god Apollo after he slew the Python, a dragon who lived there and protected the navel of the Earth. An interesting fact is that the precursor to the Modern Olympics (started in Athens, Greece in 1896) actually began in Delphi in 776BC and was called the Pythian Games.
Athens was an amazing adventure incorporating both modern and ancient technologies. Everyone was impressed by the sheer brilliance of the architecture of the Acropolis and its structures, still standing since its construction in 432 BC. The students’ new favorite food became the gyro – a delicious mixture of either lamb, chicken or pork (grilled to perfection on a spit) that is placed in a warm pita and topped with tomato, onion and topped with tzatziki sauce (a cucumber garlic yogurt sauce) and a few French fries. It was a delicious (and inexpensive) meal that we enjoyed on the go as we explored the neighborhood of Plaka.
Our 3 day cruise took us to the Greek islands of Patmos, Mykonos, and Santorini – and a quick stop in Kusadasi, Turkey.
Patmos was a sight to behold as we visited the Monastery of St. John & Grotto of the Apocalypse. The monastery was built over 900 years ago and it is still in use today. The Grotto of the Apocalypse was significant because it was here that St. John wrote the Book of Revelation.
Kusadasi is a picturesque Turkish village on the Aegean coast that is famous for the site of the little house where the Virgin Mary is believed to have spent her last days. We then went to Ancient Ephesus, once the second-largest city in the Roman Empire. We topped off the visit to see how Turkish rugs are hand crafted – many of us not getting out without a purchase!
The island of Mykonos was like being amongst the movie stars. Upon taking a transfer boat from the cruise ship to this cosmopolitan island, we were immediately surrounded by yachts. As we walked through narrow cobblestone streets, chic boutiques, trendy outdoor café’s and outstanding views awaited our discovery. To see the windmills in the town of Hora was a sight to behold but many agree the best part of being in Mykonos was enjoying a cold refreshment while watching the sun set over the Aegean Sea.
The last island on the trip was Santorini, and although many loved Mykonos, I do believe Santorini was the hands-down favorite. In order to ascend to the top of this magnificent island, one had to either ride a cable car (similar to a ski lift) or ride a donkey up to the top. Many of our adventurous students chose the donkey and said it was incredible! What we found at the top is difficult to articulate because the words cannot accurately describe its beauty. White-washed houses with cobalt blue roofs perched on steep hillsides and majestic views of plunging cliffs and black sand beaches. All one could see was white and blue, from the sky to the landscape to the sea.
Italy and Greece was the experience of a lifetime; if anyone is thinking about studying or travelling abroad with GHC– I will close by borrowing the well-known trademark of the company Nike (as it is aptly named after the Greek goddess, also known as the Winged Goddess of Victory), “Just Do It!”