by Libby Fowler | Co-Editor-in-Chief
Winter break brings many exciting things for students: the halfway mark of the school year, time with family, and holiday festivities. However, for a few students — twenty to be exact — it will be a time of exploration.
Drs. Roy Campbell and Justin Lance, of the history and political science departments respectively, will guide these students on a trip to Morocco that will last about eight days.
Although there is plenty of excitement for this excursion, it wasn’t the initial plan. The trip was planned to got to Cuba, but unfortunately, because of the travel warning issued by the State Department, the destination was changed. According to Lance, “It was an administrative decision. It has to do with the risk factor that comes into play with the travel warning.”
Campbell added, “While we still hoped to be able to follow through with the experience in Cuba, particularly since at that time none of the incidents involved US tourists, it was ultimately deemed prudent to cancel the trip given the nature of the warning.”
The change in destination has in no way thwarted any enthusiasm on the part of Lance and Campbell, both of whom have traveled to Africa in the past. While Lance’s most recent trip to Africa was in 2006, Campbell went in 2011 with a Semester-at-Sea program.
He taught two classes on the voyage, both including Moroccan components. “I had the opportunity to lead students around Casablanca and Marrakech, and also led a group of 40 students, faculty and staff on a day-long exploration of Rabat,” Campbell said.
The professors believe that Morocco has exceptional educational potential for all visitors. “We’re dealing with a different type of country,” Lance stated. “We think of things in a way that is very compartmentalized; we have, in some ways, fictitious perceptions of what these worlds are like. It really is an eye-opening experience. Many students haven’t spent time in a Muslim country and a lot of people see Islam in a way that’s completely wrong. A relatively small portion of the world are involved in the terrorist aspect. These students will be able to see this.”
Campbell is equally excited. “I find Islamic culture fascinating and welcoming,” he said. He also feels that students will benefit from exposure to a culture that is so different from their own. “Any opportunity to visit a predominantly Muslim country with students provides a great learning experience,” he concluded.
While the trip will provide a unique learning experience for the students, there is much to look forward to other than education. “Morocco is a country that tends to capture the imagination,” Campbell said. The trip will “contribute to the goals of making them global citizens and lifelong learners.”
Campbell, Lance, and the administration have been hard at work to make this trip a success in a fairly short amount of time. “It’s a lot of work,” Lance said, “and sometimes students might miss that; they pack their bags and go to classes and then head off.” But to him, the end result is worth it. “The students who go on these trips enjoy a life-changing experience,” he said.
Needless to say, these professors are more than qualified — and more than ready— to lead PC students on this experience.