By Peter Edgar
In this image, you can see each of the countries that Florida Southern has visited for Junior Journeys in the past three academic years. Note that most of the nations are already high on the list for tourist destinations.
I believe that the college should make an effort to expose its students to cultures and regions that are less frequented by the major tourist industry.
One can see three major disparities on this map of the world as visited by FSC. They are the absence of trips to the former Soviet Union, the lack of visits in any part of the world dominated by Islam, and the abandonment of Africa.
While one might blame this on a lack of stability in these regions, I would respond with the fact that Florida Southern has taken a trip to Honduras, a country with one of the highest murder rates in the world, and Mexico, home of a large drug cartel industry.
I believe that if one has planned the trip well, there will be no danger for the students, as long as the students are attentive to their surroundings and aware of the cultural guidelines of visiting a nation.
First, I believe students should be presented with the opportunity to visit Eastern Europe. This region is blooming with ethnic and cultural diversity, and would be a whelming experience in social science and culture studies.
Architecture would be a fascinating study due to its history spanning from the Romanesque- and Gothic-style castles and cathedrals to the stark, industrial remnants of the USSR.
The troubled past of Eastern Europe as well would contribute to the viability of those nations as a Junior Journey. The region as a whole would be a fascinating study in political science, economics, and history.
The second destination that I believe should have a Junior Journey option is a trip to location in the Middle East.
Abu Dhabi and Dubai are cultural and economic epicenters in the Middle East and are developed enough to provide a comfortable experience. Studies could range from the social sciences and religion to business and political science.
The third region I believe would provide a wealth of knowledge as well as fun to students is West Africa. There is a huge potential for ecological study there, as well as community service opportunities in terms of the economic and health systems on the Ivory Coast.
Furthermore, there are a number of prominent African History museums, as West Africa was once home to some of the most powerful and richest ancient civilizations in the world.
Engaging in these kinds of experiences will open students up to worldviews outside their own. They would be able to interact with people groups that are often stereotyped and reduced to a stigma.
These regions are often neglected in your average listicles or clickbait—“12 Places You MUST Visit Before You Die”—and could provide a true growth experience.
Trips that evade the major travel routes ensure that students will be exposed to the real world, not just the façade of tourist traps like Cancún, Paris, or London.