Summer travel gives students new opportunities

Story by Halle Morrell, Social Media Editor

Baker University is known for its many unique travel opportunities. From study abroad to Interterm, students almost always have the opportunity to travel if they choose. One of the newest travel opportunities being offered by Baker is summer term travel. Throughout the month of May, Baker staff members take students to various locations both within the United States and internationally.

May of 2020 holds several exciting destinations for students to take advantage of, including the Pacific Northwest and England and Scotland. Each excursion comes with its own unique itinerary to entice students and gain popularity.

Chair of Biology and Chemistry Erin Morris is leading a group of students to the countries of England and Scotland. The trip will be centered around the cities of London, Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as the Scottish highlands. The trip will entail as much wildlife and nature as possible and will last approximately 12 days.

The trip is expected to cost between $2500 and $3000, making it accessible to many students. Morris is excited for many things regarding this adventure, but what she is most excited about is the puffins. Morris got to experience the puffins in Scotland coming up to her and wants her students to have that same experience.

“It was such a great day and I thought to myself, ‘if I could bring students back here, this is the thing I would do,’” Morris explained.

Another trip being offered during the summer of 2020 is a trip to the Pacific Northwest sponsored by Assistant Professor of Biology Scott Kimball. Kimball has previously taken students to the East coast, but decided to try the Northwest coast this year. Students will road trip to northern Washington state and explore the coastline down into Oregon and California.

Students will be camping along the coast while exploring the seashores. There will be opportunities to whale-watch for orcas and tide-pooling to look at various forms of sea life. The Northwest coast is also heavily populated with native cultures indigenous to the area, giving the opportunity for students to investigate those cultures.

The trip is limited to ten students and costs approximately $950 for over two weeks of travel. The road trip method allows for students to share expenses and cut down on costs. The department provides camping gear, so students do not have to bear that cost either.

Kimball is very excited for this trip. While he enjoys the experience and is familiar with the area, one of his favorite parts is being able to give students new experiences.

“Some of these students will have never seen the ocean before. Some of them will have never been to the West coast. Some of them will have never seen a whale. Almost every single thing we do will be a brand new experience in the life of somebody there. That’s pretty fun,” Kimball stated.

The method of travel also puts students in very close proximity to each other on a daily basis, allowing for relationships to be formed that otherwise never would have been feasible. Many students who took advantage of the East coast trip in the past formed relationships that can still be seen on campus today.

There are also scholarships available for students traveling in May. Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of Study Abroad Robyn Long explained that while scholarships are widely funded by alumni, the Day of Giving put on in 2019 allotted for 20 new scholarships to be funded for winter and summer travel. These scholarships amount to $500 and average about ten per semester.

Long is thrilled with the increase in travel opportunities and was on the committee that implemented the change from the beginning.

“I think it increases students’ opportunities to do an Interterm at a point where that experience is useful to them. I think it increases their opportunities to go to places where there is prohibitive weather as well,” Long explained.

The new travel options give students the chance to experience things that they might not ever be able to again. With summer travel comes exciting adventures that many students are happy to take advantage of.