During their college years, many students choose to study abroad, and for the past 27 years, students at Moravian College also have had the opportunity to travel abroad for a few weeks rather than an entire semester, thanks to French and Latin professor Jean-Pierre Lalande, chair of the foreign language department.
He offered the first travel abroad program to students during January Term in 1985. The group traveled to three cities in France and three cities in Germany. His main motivation for starting the travel abroad program was to give students more opportunities to travel outside this country. “At the time, there were very few opportunities for students here to go abroad,” Lalande said.
For the past several years, Lalande’s trips have focused on the architecture and politics of five European cities: Venice, Salzburg, Munich, Paris and Berlin. Not only is the subject matter interesting but Lalande knows these cities well and they tend to be more affordable.
“The experience was one of the most life-changing and intellectually expansive experiences that I have had,” says Brian Corvino ’02, a member of Moravian’s Board of Trustees. “During this trip (in 2001), I had the opportunity to see firsthand some of the evolving issues that I studied in class. Furthermore, and more importantly, I had the opportunity to experience the people and cultures of Europe.”
Alicia Altemose ’14 went on Professor Lalande’s trip last May and had a wonderful experience. “I learned a lot about adapting to other cultures, about history and architecture,” she says. “I really enjoyed the people I met, the delicious food and wine, and the old-world feel of cities like Salzburg, Venice and Paris. Overall, I loved the experience and would recommend it to anyone,” she added.
“I have not had a student come back and tell me that he or she did not have a good time,” says Lalande. “It’s an experience which is a first for many, and I know once they’ve done it, they have a whole different outlook on their home country, on foreign countries and on themselves.”
Lalande has firsthand knowledge of what travel and study abroad can mean to a student; at 15, he travelled to England, and while in college, he studied in England and Russia.
“Even though the U.S. is a big country, there’s a bigger world outside,” Lalande says.
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