LMU offers students a variety of ways to travel the globe in pursuit of exciting educational, cultural and service experiences. Two of the most popular modes of Lion travel are Alternative Break (AB) trips and Study Abroad. AB trips are designed to raise social awareness through community based learning and focuses on social justice issues, while studying abroad is exactly as it sounds — studying for a semester in another country.
Both options give students the opportunity to travel practically anywhere in the world. There are programs that take place in various regions of Europe, Africa, Asia, Central America and South America. And if you don’t see a program destination that interests you, you may petition to create one! While special trips and programs such as these do add to the overall cost of attending LMU, there are financial aid opportunities offered to students in need.
For AB trips, the program cost is all-inclusive, meaning food, travel and a place to stay are included. If a student decides to commit to an AB trip, he or she is required to attend pre-trip meetings set up by their trip leader and any other activities planned in preparation for the journey. During the trip, participants are constantly interacting with and learning about the community through its members and organizations. Once participants return, they are encouraged to teach and advocate on the issues they explored, such as through artwork, composition, or short films.
For study abroad, the details of a program’s costs vary, but for the most part, the following are included: housing, meals, cost of attendance and any excursions. Outside of this cost, students may have to pay for their airline ticket, additional food/snacks, additional travel and books for their classes. The study abroad office offers semester and summer programs that can be specific to a discipline of study so that students are not steered off from their four-year track. For example, this upcoming fall semester I will be journeying to Bonn, Germany to take part in the Bonn: Engineering Track program – this popular program is also offered for Theatre, Business, Arts and Communication majors as well. Studying abroad is a great opportunity to immerse oneself in a new culture, interact with the people and familiarize oneself with a new language. Depending on the program, students may either be living in university dorms or with a host family.
In my case, I will be living with a host family for the length of the program. I am nervous because it will be the first time I am traveling without my family, but I am relieved to know that I will not be alone in my journey to a new country. I am excited to explore the area around Bonn by making use of the transportation pass given to me to commute to school. As part of the program, I will also be going on excursions out of Germany such as to Paris to visit different infrastructures as well as other day long trips around Bonn to explore European culture and their use of engineering in these places.
If these two types of travel adventures don’t sound quite right for you, LMU offers many additional travel opportunities, such as with De Colores, where students venture to Mexico to assist the community in Tijuana. Going on an Alternative Break or studying abroad does not require you to have any travel experience nor fluency in the visiting country’s language. They only require a completed application and an eagerness to learn!