Knights in Greece, Summer 2022
Why do we travel? Studies have shown traveling makes us happier. It relieves stress and anxiety, and opens up our minds to society, culture, and a world far bigger than our own as we continue on our journey to become global citizens.
Starting in May, Gannon launched international TRAVEL programs for the first time since 2019, effectively re-establishing opportunities for our Gannon family to spend a part of the summer in locations across the globe. These groups have spent the last year building community, planning their itineraries, and educating themselves in the cultures they’d be immersed in. Nine groups with 87 student participants and 18 faculty and staff facilitators traveled to Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ireland, Scotland, France, Netherlands, Iceland, Costa Rica, and Australia.
The T.R.A.V.E.L. Program provides transformative learning experiences rooted in community, intercultural competence development, and domestic and international travel experiences. Through a variety of program options, from affinity housing to mini-trips to the flagship T.R.A.V.E.L. program, students can explore within, discover the world around them, and build meaningful relationships with other Gannon students, faculty, and staff.
As we continue to follow trips still en route, let’s hear from past TRAVEL students from each trip as they share what made their experiences so valuable. Plus, you can follow Gannon University’s Center for Social Concerns and Global Exploration on Facebook and Instagram for photos from this summer's trips and much more.
”The TRAVEL program works in a variety of ways to facilitate the trip of a lifetime. Before our experience in Australia, weekly group meetings were held that included learning about the culture as well as each other. These meetings were beneficial to manifest growth as a group throughout the year in preparation for our awaited journey.
Words will never describe our adventures there. I found myself engaging in a new culture for the first time and being surrounded by a group of people unified for the sole purpose of this trip.
From the breathtaking views of the Sydney Opera House and the Daintree rainforest to the adrenaline rush of skydiving and bridge climbing, this trip continuously provided me with life-changing memories that I will forever be grateful for. Tears of pure happiness filled my eyes as I came to the realization that I was surfing at Bondi Beach in Australia.
The group as a whole stepped out of their comfort zones as we learned about the indigenous people while walking through the mangroves. Every tour quide we experienced was excited to share information about Australia and appreciate the beauty in front of us. Most importantly, sharing this journey with Gannon students and faculty, and walking with the citizens of Australia, provided me with a multitude of special connections and relationships. My mind has been opened to unimaginable perspectives and I will always be thankful for this opportunity." - Alexis Novak ’21
"My experience with the Costa Rican travel group was amazing! Both leading up to the trip and the trip itself. During the weekly meetings, we were able to get to know each other and learn more about what we were going to experience down in Costa Rica. Going into the trip, we were all just friends and didn't really know how close we were actually going to get, I can honestly say this group of 14 people are amazing people and I am so happy to have gotten to thrive and witness some downfalls together.
From seeing the most beautiful views of volcanoes and rainforest to having no power and playing cards with flashlights all around our hostel, it is something I'll never forget. I would highly recommend this trip to others and plan on influencing my residents next year to sign up to experience a TRAVEL program.
My favorite thing was being on the beach and exploring the Pura Vida lifestyle in multiple different locations.” - Sarah Steeb ’21
“Gannon's TRAVEL program has brought me new perspectives, new relationships, and unforgettable memories. Getting to learn, plan, and carry out a personal and educational trip with my group allowed me to maximize my overall experience with the program.
In addition to learning about a different culture and unique civilization, I also learned useful planning, navigation, and interactive skills in a range of places with a wide variety of people.
Gannon's TRAVEL program has enhanced me as a person, broadening my horizons on a global scale. It has made me eager to see more of the world and appreciate every opportunity I am given.” - Taylor Bellina ’17
“I was so lucky to travel to Greece through the TRAVEL program! It was such a beautiful country full of rich history, the nicest people, and breathtaking views! Within our trip we got to see and learn so much about Greece's culture and way of life. Though I loved all of the excursions, my favorite was when we kayaked the beautiful blue waters, then stopped to snorkel and have a picnic on a small island.
During the trip we created new friendships, tried new things, and made memories that will last forever.
I truly had the most amazing time and couldn't thank my facilitators or the TRAVEL program enough for providing me with this once in a lifetime experience!” - Camryn McCall ’21
“My experience with the TRAVEL program was far greater than I ever imagined it would be.
Through planning and executing large-scale group fundraisers, I improved my ability to handle stress, manage my time, and plan for the unexpected, I had the opportunity to celebrate all that I learned about myself through an incredible ten-day trip to Iceland.
I not only got to further develop relationships with some of my best friends throughout the adventure, but I also had the opportunity to experience authentic Icelandic culture through a variety of diverse experiences, including a challenging glacier hike, trips to dozens of waterfalls, countless conversations with an Icelandic photographer and journalist (who also served as our tour guide), and much more. - Kate DuCarme '20
“The TRAVEL Program gave me, as well as many other students, an opportunity we might not have had otherwise. The idea of traveling abroad was far-fetched until I came to Gannon and heard about the program. It allowed me to visit Ireland, a country so many of my relatives once inhabited.
The planning was started more than a year ahead of time, which allowed time to discuss ideas, raise money, and most importantly, form friendships with new people on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
I'm thankful Gannon and the TRAVEL Program gave us the opportunity to experience the world and new cultures.” - Shannon Gillespie ’18
"The main reason why I wanted travel through Gannon's TRAVEL program was because my circle of friends at school does not expand much further than the Acro & Tumbling team and I wanted to meet new people that I probably never would have crossed paths with if it wasn't for this opportunity.
This trip taught be a lot about being patient and trusting in our group. Patience has never been my strong suit so this trip has definitely made me more comfortable with not always having a plan. I am learning to be patient in school, trusting that everything will turn out alright in some way, and not to worry about the future so much.
My favorite city we visited is a hard choice to make. I loved everything! My favorite city was probably Madrid, but I absolutely loved the Pena Palace and the La Quinta da Regaleria in Sintra, Portugal. All of those structures and the landscape was just beautiful, everywhere you looked was breathtaking. Traveling with our group is definitely what made this trip so special.
While seeing and experiencing the places we went to were amazing on their own, getting to know each other and being able to experience those places together really made it unforgettable.
Other people should travel to learn to step out of their comfort zone.” - Jenna DeCoursey ’21
Follow Gannon University’s Center for Social Concerns and Global Exploration on Facebook and Instagram for much more. Where will your possibilities take you?