CEDAR CITY – With stops in China, France and England, Southern Utah University’s new Community on the Go program took groups of adult community members from all walks of life to places around the world in 2017.
In 2018, Community on the Go trips are slated to be equally as intriguing — if not a bit frightening. From touring ancient ruins in South America, to off the beaten paths and mountain valleys of Hungary and Romania, to the villages and castles in the Alps of Germany and Austria, Community on the Go aims to make memories that will last a lifetime.
This year, SUU’s community travel lineup begins in May to the ancient Inca Empire in Peru. Once considered the largest empire in pre-Columbian America, the Incas ruled the highlands of Peru for centuries until succumbing to Spanish armies in 1572.
Architecture highlights the Peru trip, with sites such as Ollantaytambo, located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu and the temple of Qorikancha selected. Traditional cooking lessons, textile weaving demonstrations and salsa dancing lessons are also included in the itinerary.
SUU experts leading the trip are Dr. Emily Dean, associate professor of anthropology, and Dr. Iliana Portaro, assistant professor of Spanish. An archaeologist specializing in prehistory of the Andean region of South America, Dean has conducted extensive fieldwork in Peru. Portaro, a native of Lima, Peru, received her Ph.D. in Latin American literature and cultures, and specializes in Peruvian literature and women’s studies.
In October, Community on the Go takes flight to Transylvania during Halloween season. From the banks of the immortal Danube River, to the lush farm valleys and mesmerizing mountain peaks of western Romania, to the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, this voyage is sure to excite those who love history and science fiction. In Romania, Bran Castle, more commonly known as Dracula’s castle due to similarities of the setting in Bram Stoker’s famous novel Dracula, is a favorite stop among tourists.
Travelers will also take an off the beaten path tour of the Carpathian Mountains, also known as the Transylvanian Alps, visiting alpine meadows covered in scores of wildflowers and glacial lakes, or view any of the more than 400 unique species of animal life exclusive to the area. The Carpathian Mountains are home to one of the largest undisturbed forests in Europe.
Dr. Kyle Bishop, nationally recognized as an expert on the horror genre, will be leading the trip with Dr. Grant Corser, knowledgeable traveler of the Transylvania region and expert on the psychology of fear and its connections to things that go bump in the night.
And in December, Community on the Go will voyage to Germany and Austria for Christmas in the Alps. The journey begins in Munich before traveling to the historic castles of Füessen and a tour of The Sound of Music movie site in Salzburg. In Austria, travelers will visit art museums with the option to attend an opera if desired.
“Both Germany and Austria have rich Christmas traditions appealing to community members,” said Dr. Kurt Harris, SUU’s Director of Learning Abroad. “I am personally excited that we will be visiting one of the most famous and popular destinations in the world, Neuschwanstein castle.”
Much like a study abroad program for adult members of the community interested in educational travel, Community on the Go trips are designed to offer fun, affordable, educational travel experiences, and to build community relationships with SUU faculty experts leading the trips. Activities are flexible and designed using community feedback, said Melynda Thorpe, executive director of the Office of Community and Academic Enrichment at SUU.
“SUU expert-led trips allow for groups of 20-30 to explore various parts of the world,” Thorpe said. “Community on the Go seeks to provide those who travel with an academically rich, affordable and fun vacation. Our employees handle the logistics, such as transportation schedules, attraction tickets and hotel reservations.”
Registration for the community trip to Peru ends Feb. 28. For more information on SUU Community on the Go trips, or to reserve your spot today, visit suu.edu/onthego, call (435) 865-8259 or stop by the office at 136 W. University Blvd, Suite 003, Cedar City, Utah.
—Haven Scott, Southern Utah University, Office of Community and Academic Enrichment