By Sherri Shi, Staff Writer 

UMF students in front of the folded continental margin strata near Stephenville, Newfoundland

UMF students in front of the folded continental margin strata near Stephenville, Newfoundland

The 2016 May travel courses led by UMF faculty members, including trips to Spain, Newfoundland, Tanzania, and The Virgin Islands, to name a few, are now open for registration.

One May travel course, Cultural History of Spain, will be led by Associate Professor Anne Marie Wolf. The group will be visiting Madrid, Granada, Cordoba and many other Spanish cities.

“It’s mostly southern and central Spain, the focus on art, architecture, and historical context,” said Wolf. “[These cities] are very rich, culturally, and if you only have a small time to spend in Spain, they are probably the most densely cultural cities for the American visitor.”

Wolf’s love for Spain was sparked by her high school Spanish teacher. Since then, she has studied in the country and traveled throughout the entire nation. She had lived in some of the cities for more than a year and each revisit takes her by surprise. “There are new excavations that have gone on, new exhibits, museums, and new metro lines,” said Wolf.

Kathleen Mae Joseph, a senior at UMF, had experience traveling in Europe and found Spain to be more enjoyable than her high school experience in Italy.

“I actually liked Spain a lot better,” said Joseph. “It has an amazing variety of architecture that made every city and site unique. I tried a lot of new foods. When you order drinks there the restaurants bring you an appetizer of their choice so you don’t even really know what you’re trying but it was almost always fantastic.”

Meanwhile, Associate Professor Douglas Reusch and Assistant Professor Lucas Kellett are offering a May travel course to Newfoundland. The course will spend a great deal of time in Newfoundland’s biggest attraction: Gros Morne National Park, chosen to be a world heritage site because of its bedrock geology. They will then move to other archeological sites such as Red Bay in the north.

Reusch confessed his fascination of Gros Morne. “It’s one of the few place on earth where you got a full spectrum of geological features in a small area, everything from the continental crust that underlies North America, through the ancient continental margin to transported oceanic lithosphere,” said Reusch.

The course is a joint force between the Anthropology Department and Geology Department. “It should really enrich the trip,” said Reusch. “It also makes a nice tie between the bedrock and the human culture. Archeology, in a sense, use geology to try to understand what people were doing in the past. So archeology is a bridge between geology and humanity.”

“Every day was an adventure,” said Michael Pakulski, a student that went on the last travel course to Newfoundland. The experience gave him a chance to think about the inner workings of the world and eventually changed how he viewed the world as a whole. “This is where I belong, in geology,” said Pakulski. “Everything I did on that trip combined my love of the outdoors, dangerous adventures, and discovery.”

“These faculties self-select, they lead travel courses because they like it,” explained Stephen Davis, a career counselor at UMF. “You get to travel with somebody who likes to travel and has been there a bunch of times, who got their degrees there, who can take you to all these places that regular tourist guides don’t, who does all your arrangements for you, it’s perfect,” said Davis.

“They should see me soon,” urged Wolf. “Sometimes students think they can sign up for May courses in March which is way too late because we’ll be buying tickets in January.”

The Newfoundland course is currently full, but students who are interested should contact Dr. Kellett or Dr. Reusch to add themselves to the waiting list.

Students are also encouraged to sign up for May travel courses to Tanzania, led by Professor Linda Beck, or to the Virgin Islands, led by Professor Ron Butler and Professor Nancy Prentiss. If these do not entice, students can join the travel courses from other schools within the UMaine system. For more information, visit http://www2.umf.maine.edu/international/short-term-travel-courses/.