Jefferson Spurlock says traveling can provide knowledge that can’t be found in any textbook or lecture, and that is why he is taking Troy University students to Scotland in June 2015.
Spurlock, the associate director of the Hall School of Journalism and Communication, has been traveling his entire life, and he said that travel is a vital experience for young people. Spurlock has visited every country in Western Europe with the exception of Scotland and Portugal, so he said he is excited for the trip.
Jeff Spurlock planned the Scotland trip through a travel agency called Explorica. According to information provided by Spurlock, students will spend eight days in Scotland, costing $2,804 for travelers under 23 and $3,144 for travelers 23 and older.
They are able to make monthly payments to Explorica for 17 months.
Spurlock said these prices will stay in effect until Dec. 20, 2013. He said students who wish to sign up can go to www.explorica.com/Spurlock-2076 and type in the voucher code Explorica 2015 to receive these prices.
The price will cover round-trip airfare, overnight stays in hotels, daily breakfast and dinner, visits to select attractions, guided tours and more. Spurlock said he is happy he chose to work through an agency because it is less stressful than planning a trip such as this on his own.
Students will have the chance to take in sites such as Loch Ness, the Highlands, Glasgow and Alexander Graham Bell’s home and they’ll go on a ghost tour through a castle in Edinburgh. Spurlock said he wants the trip to be educational, fun and life-changing.
Jeff Spurlock’s wife, Amy Spurlock, professor and coordinator of the Doctor of Nursing Practice or DNP at Troy University, will also go on the trip. Amy Spurlock said she loves seeing students’ confidence grow while they are traveling.
An example Amy Spurlock gave occurred during a trip to London that the Spurlocks took with university students. She said students were able to navigate through the Underground or subway system by the second day, and it pleased her to see them want to accomplish more challenges.
Amy Spurlock said she hopes students will gain confidence, a spirit of adventure and appreciation for being an American while in Scotland. She also said travel “expands their world views on culture and how other people live,” and that helps to achieve one of the institutional missions of Troy, which encourages students to think globally.
“Traveling is one of the best education tools out there,” Jeff Spurlock said. He said there is much more to be learned than what he can teach in a lecture hall or have students read in a textbook. He said being able to experience the heritage of another country is simply something you cannot give a student while sitting in a classroom.
Considering students will be learning about another culture, Spurlock said students will be able to earn academic credit for going on the trip. They may do so by enrolling in either COM 3380, Travel Study in Journalism and Communication, for three credit hours or NSG 2291, Study Abroad, for two credit hours.
Not only did Jeff Spurlock say travel is good for education, but he also said this trip will help students in someday getting jobs. He said because students are living in a global environment, they can never be sure what they will be asked to do in their careers, and experience traveling can only help them.
“There are so many businesses who want to see applicants who have traveled,” Spurlock said. “We are living in such a global environment that you never know what you’ll be asked to do.” He said questions such as “Have you traveled?” or “Do you enjoy traveling?” may even be asked in job interviews.
Amy and Jeff Spurlock are not the only ones on Troy’s campus to say traveling is imperative for students. Jeff Spurlock said Chancellor Jack Hawkins has said many times that he would like to see every Troy student have the chance to go abroad within his or her four years at the university.
Even though the trip isn’t happening for some time some students already eagerly wait to see Scotland. Naomi Perez, a junior English major from Enterprise, said she wants to go on the ghost tour.
Perez said she is definitely going because she is interested in Europe. She said trips to Latin America and China seem to be abundant, but she doesn’t notice many trips to Europe. The flier for Scotland made her instantly want to learn more. After attending the informational meeting with Spurlock, her heart is set on going.
“I think visiting a foreign country will give me a better perspective than the one I’m used to,” Perez said. “It will expose me to things that I’m not familiar with.”
Perez said she has traveled only within the U.S., and even though she is scared to fly for eight hours, seeing all of the information laid out in front of her solidified her decision to go.
Becca Bonner, a senior communication studies major from Eufaula, is another student who is interested in going on the Scotland trip. She said her reason for wanting to visit is a friend who lives in Scotland. Bonner understands how traveling can help a person grow because she has traveled outside the U.S. before.
“We get so caught up in our own culture that we don’t pay attention to other cultures,” Bonner said. She said she would like to one day have a job where she is able to travel, and visiting other countries will help her decide on where she would like to be.
Robert Diaz, a senior information systems major from Dothan, has traveled extensively through Europe and North America and said he is pleased to see trips such as this be planned for Troy students. He said traveling with his military family and with his hockey teams has helped make him who he is today.
“I approach different situations with a different mindset than most people who have lived in one place almost their entire life,” Diaz said.
“Through traveling, I am able to relate to more people and create a connection to them through their past experiences with mine.”
Diaz said Troy University students, regardless of their degrees, will benefit from a trip such as the one to Scotland.