The Arts Abroad: Class overseas balances work with unforgettable experiences

Visitors can view the entire city of Prague on a clear day from the overlook at Prague Castle. Students who traveled on the Arts Abroad trip in January visited both cities.Every winter semester, Rider offers students the chance to travel overseas for credits or for enjoyment and gives them a taste of traveling abroad. This year, a group of approximately 60 students of all majors started off the new year traveling to London and Prague the capital of the Czech Republic. The Arts Abroad trip offered a lot of flexibility, a good price and an amazing experience for those who wished to see another side of the world.

Receiving three credits to have fun and see some historical sights sounds great, but there is some work involved. Students who took the trip for credits had to write five papers about the shows they saw. However, it’s worth the work because it was such a fun experience.

Some students looking into upcoming Arts Abroad travels may be put off by the initial price. I know I was unsure at first if I could actually go, but in retrospect, it is totally worth the bill. If a student were to try and take the same trip without going as a group through Rider, it would be almost impossible to achieve alone.

This was my first time traveling overseas. I really enjoyed that Rider had structured the itinerary so that activities were always available, but also lax enough that you could decide what interested you and what didn’t. Going abroad is also fun because you spend time with Rider students you may not already know. In addition, it is great to go with friends you already know here on campus.

One really great thing about taking the Arts Abroad trip is that it can be the tool to show you how you’d fare in staying overseas longer (a semester perhaps) if you’re currently on the fence. Two weeks is a good amount of time for a student to figure out how he or she would do living overseas for a longer amount of time.

Dr. Jerry Rife and Dr. Pat Chmel, who plan the Arts Abroad class each year, always pick London and another foreign city for the group to travel to. London is full of incredible history, and to me, seemed to be a place you have to visit. Lots of the museums and points of interest were free and London is known for its eclectic mix of ethnic foods.

I had gone to Prague knowing nothing about it, and came home ecstatic — exhausted, but ecstatic. Prague was awesome simply because it’s nothing like America. If you can withstand intense cold, Prague is worth visiting to see its impressive architecture, unique cuisine and exciting nightlife.

Plans are already being made for next winter’s Arts Abroad trip. The group will travel to London and Istanbul, Turkey. Next year’s trip is limited to 40 people, so if you’re able to take the trip and are on the fence, my opinion is to just decide to do it. Travel like this shouldn’t be missed and embarking on an adventure like this through Rider is financially and socially a smarter choice than going it alone. If you’ve already been overseas, it’s always great to return for fun; and if this is your first time, why not give it a shot? I’m sure you won’t regret it.

Luke Hall is a sophomore management major who traveled for two weeks to London and Prague with the Arts Abroad program.

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