Field trip that can’t be beat: Class heads for Europe

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Students at Saint Augustine’s University often study about faraway places. But in one course this spring, students will actually go far away.

HON 220, a course taught by Assistant Professor Moses T. Alexander Greene, ends with a trip to London and Paris. There are six students enrolled in the three-credit elective, but Mr. Greene opened up the trip to other students who expressed a strong interest in going.

So far, eight students have signed up for the trip. Students will leave on April 28 and return May 6.

“Studying aboard is a life-changing experience,” Mr. Greene said. “It broadens an individual’s perception of what is possible. …They will spend part of their last semester in Paris, studying a new culture, and meeting new people. Their [college] experience will become less American and more global.”

HON 220 is offered by the Honor’s College in conjunction with the Office of International Programs. The course is called Paris Noir (Black Paris) and it focuses on the significant contributions made by African-American scholars, activists and artists, starting in the early 1900s.

Students will spend a total of eight days on the trip. For two days, students will stay in London, where they will see a performance of “Motown…the Musical” at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Students will also have a chance to meet the cast from that show.

In Paris, the students will explore the life of Josephine Baker (1906-75), the influential black dancer, by retracing her steps through the Left Bank section of Montparnasse and the city’s grand boulevard, the Champs Elysee. They will also study at the famous Café de Flore, where James Baldwin rewrote his classic 1953 novel about growing up black in Harlem, “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” They will also visit the Sorbonne, the historical educational institution, the Louvre museum and the African Market in Latin Quarter.

“The contributions that African Americans made artistically to Paris are important,” Mr. Greene added.

He explained that he has worked out arrangements with Angle Educational Services out of London for the trip. It will cost each student $1,100 for lodging at a four-star hotel and $1,200 for airfare. To raise money, students are creating marketing videos as well as GoFundMe campaigns. The class also has arranged a fundraiser with the California Pizza Kitchen in Raleigh (Triangle Town Center) and in Durham (Streets of Southpoint). All day on Tuesday, April 5, Wednesday, April 6, and Friday, April 15, anyone who tells their server at those restaurants that they are there to support SAU’s Paris Noir trip, will have 20 percent of their check go to defray costs of the trip.

Mr. Greene is also requesting that any department that has grant overages that can go toward studying abroad contact him at 919-516-4447, or Dr. Kanton Reynolds of the office of International Programs.

In the 2016-17 academic year, the trip will be in the fall because prices are significantly cheaper then, Mr. Greene explained.

Students are excited about the trip. For Christian Roberson, a journalism and mass communication major, it will be both fun and beneficial.

“I am so excited about the opportunity to study abroad in Paris,” Roberson said. “I think Paris Noir is a great course and I encourage others to join the course in the fall. I believe studying abroad in Paris is a great resume builder for me as a graduating senior. “

While raising the funds is a challenge, it is definitely worth the effort, Mr. Greene said.

“I implore students to think outside themselves,” he said. “We say Transform, Excel, and Lead. Do things that are going to transform your life, things that are going to help you excel in life. Having this on your resume, that you studied in another country, sets you apart, and then you’re definitely a leader.”

– Adonica Stewart

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