When people think of university or education in general, they often think of reading, writing, piles of books, deadlines and lectures. Obviously in an art school this already works somewhat differently, but it’s easy to forget how valuable travel can be to the learning process. You can’t learn everything by just reading and writing…sometimes you have to go out and experience different parts of the world to explore culture, art, and history.
As an American student I feel incredibly lucky to be going to university in England at UCA. Studying in another country has helped me grow as a person and has also given me the opportunity to visit other cities in Europe that I never thought I’d get to see. It’s a lot more convenient to travel to certain destinations (especially in Europe) from England rather than America due to the travel times and the cost, even when it’s a trip offered by a university. When I saw that my course – BA (Hons) Computer Animation Arts – was going on a class trip to Rome this year I signed up immediately.
Firstly, I was impressed by what a bargain this trip was! For £350 we got to stay in a three-star hotel for four nights (not a hostel which was great, and it included breakfast), a return flight to Rome, and entrance to some of the city’s main attractions such as the San Callisto Catacombs, the Baths of Caracalla, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum, and the Colosseum. On top of this, we were also given a whole free day so in-between the group excursions we could go and explore as we wished. For a small extra price our course leader, Phil Gomm, organised group meals for the first and final days in Rome so we could enjoy some time together.
While I have travelled on my own before and benefitted from it, going to a new city with your peers is an entirely different experience. Not only do you get to discover new and exciting things with your classmates and friends about history and different cultures, but it also helps you learn how to co-operate with one another. Sometimes people can get crabby, but in the end we were all there together to share an educational and enriching experience. It was nice to be given the freedom to explore what we wanted without having to constantly worry about fulfilling a brief. Nearly all of us still took lots of artsy photos and drew sketches of statues and architecture. The goal of the trip was to experience the world around us…something that a lot of people miss out on.
I personally highly recommend the class trips that UCA has to offer – while my course group was able to spend some quality time, we weren’t bound together the entire trip. We were able to be independent, see the city of Rome for what it is, and each of us gained what we needed to as individuals. We all have a different story about Rome. It was a bargain and an adventure – what more could you want?!