Students, professors offer travel tips

Professors Bruce Gordon and Bob and Beth Garfrerick tour New Zealand with a group of students in May as part of the Study Abroad program.  Even on a rainy day, travelers were able to experience the country’s culture, Beth said.

Many UNA students and faculty have embraced the opportunity to travel. Some travel the country, and others travel the world.

The deadline for submitting an application for the spring semester of the Magellan Study Abroad program, which allows students to study one or two semesters abroad for the price of UNA tuition, is Oct. 15.

There are also faculty-led and short-term travel opportunities for students as well.

Senior Tate Hipps said he has traveled to various U.S. cities and Guatemala as part of a film practicum class he is taking this semester.

Hipps offered advice to those considering traveling, and said traveling simply is important.

“Minimalism maximizes a better experience,” he said.

On a recent trip to Guatemala, Hipps said he packed what he needed in one bag and took his camera case on the plane.

Though it was hard not to stick out as a redheaded white man in Guatemala, his goal was to blend in as much as possible, he said.

One way he attempted to do this was to not wear shorts because no one there wears shorts, he said.

Jeffrey Bibbee, chair of the history department, said one of the more important steps in having a good trip is research.

“Read guidebooks or go online to find out more about where you are going,” he said.

“Also, it’s not bad to read websites that report on the negative side of things. This way you know what hotels or areas to avoid.”

He said most bad experiences come from acting too much like a tourist.

Assistant Professor of Communications Beth Garfrerick said she thinks paying attention to the surroundings enriches the experience.

“I actually got annoyed with some students in China because, as we were passing through the countryside, they were on their phones,” she said. “I just wanted to shout at them to look out the window. That’s my advice for young people. Just get off your phone and look at your surroundings.”

How to properly pack is one of the most asked questions, said English Professor Leslie Peterson.

“Pack light,” she said. “You’re not there to impress anyone by the size of your wardrobe. When I pack, I pack from the feet up. I decide what shoes I’m going to wear, and then I pick my clothes based on my shoes.”

Senior Hunter Powers Middleton, who has traveled to Thailand, Switzerland and Germany, said fitting everything in one simple suitcase is best.

“Pack three to five days of clothing, and don’t go over,” he said. “Only bring one outfit to go out in.”

In an email, Craig Christy, director of the Center for Global Engagement, said he emphasizes checking with the Department of State to see if there are any warnings for the area of travel and making sure all vaccinations for that area are up-to-date.

He said he also suggests traveling in groups and being aware of the surroundings.

Junior Whitney Pacil, who has traveled out of the country with her pilot father, said writing down the number of the U.S. Embassy is important.

“My mom was adamant that I knew the number and had it written down in multiple places,” she said.

Junior Ali Murad said he travels to Pakistan to visit family once or twice a year.

“Make sure you have your passport, Visa and all the documents you need to enter the country and exit the country,” he said.

He has encountered some problems while traveling, he said.

“Sometimes your flight gets delayed,” he said. “If you miss one flight, you’ll be certain to miss your next flight.”

Sophomore Rahsaun Fletcher said the most important part of any trip is to have fun.

“When you go on a trip, you never know when your last day will be,” he said. “So, live everyday like there is no tomorrow. You may be going out of town for work or school, but treat it as new experience and enjoy yourself.”