Participants, including IGS staff, smile in front of the iconic Moulin Rouge during a day of exploring.

Hens in Paris

Institute for Global Studies spring break trip is 'tres bon'

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11:10 a.m., April 17, 2014--The inaugural spring break 2014 trip to Paris sponsored by the University of Delaware’s Institute for Global Studies brought together alumni, faculty, staff and friends for an unforgettable adventure.

Due to an overwhelming response in applications, two different trips to Paris were planned with over 80 participants ranging in age from 22 to 92. 

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This excursion, a first of its kind, commemorated a historic UD trip to Paris in 1923, which transformed international education. 

Much like that first study abroad program, members immersed themselves in French history, culture, language and transportation. 

Before checking into their hotel, the first group to arrive in Paris divided up, exploring on bikes, traveling in the depths of the city to uncover the cryptic Catacombs and more.

All participates mastered the Metro system. The groups of more than 40 people traveled on the underground roads seamlessly, not even looking like tourists, until their stop when they would announce, “Delaware dismount!”

“It was a blast,” said Amy Johnson, deputy director of the Institute for Global Studies, who coordinated and led both trips.

Some people, such as Allen and Karen Bloener, were used to sending their children abroad and decided it was their turn.

Others such as Dorothy Munroe – whose husband the late John A. Munroe was a noted authority on Delaware history and a highly regarded educator who spent over 60 years on the faculty at UD and whose name graces Munroe Hall – participated in the fun with her daughter, son-in-law and grandson.

Jim Flynn, assistant professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration in the College of Arts and Sciences, wrote to Johnson, “[We] thoroughly enjoyed our Paris adventure and are looking forward to other experiences with you and our new friends in the future.”

Johnson, who has traveled to Paris seven times, largely for study abroad programs, said she found interesting similarities between the students and participants.

“The purpose for this trip was to share the global view we have at the Institute and inspire people,” said Johnson. 

Participants thoroughly enjoyed visiting the beaches of Normandy, which were described as a moving experience. On a beautiful day, group members walked beside bunkers, saw bomb impressions, and visited the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.

“There wasn’t a dry eye,” said Johnson. “The Normandy trip was ranked the highest for invoking emotion while taking us to an area of history that changed our world.”

Delectable delicacies such as cheeses, pastries, macaroons and chocolates were savored and bought during market tours. Participants were able to take these victuals and create lunches of their own.

Johnson’s extensive knowledge of Paris allowed the groups to have a much broader understanding of the city. While they engaged in “touristy” sightseeing and shopping, they also were able to visit the locales frequented by the locals.

The culminating event of the trip was the farewell dinner at the Eiffel Tower. There, participates sat atop the iconic tower looking over the “City of Light.”

Many participants can now enthusiastically say they can check Paris off their bucket lists.

A photo gallery and blog of the trips can be seen here.

A trip to Paris will be offered again the in the future, and those with interest are encouraged to stay tuned for more information regarding the 2015 alumni, faculty and friends trips. Any faculty and staff interested in hosting a trip can contact Johnson at ajohnson@udel.edu.

About the Institute for Global Studies

The Institute for Global Studies was created in 2009 to enhance the international dimensions of teaching, research and outreach at the University of Delaware. IGS provides leadership and support for programs and experiences that contribute to the education of informed, skilled, open-minded citizens of the world. 

Best known for coordinating the University’s study abroad program, IGS also awards scholarships and grants to faculty and students for global travel and research, administers internationally-recognized programs such as the MEPI (Middle East Partnership Initiative) Student Leaders Institute, and sponsors such signature events as International Education Week each fall and country-specific celebrations each spring. 

IGS also partners with other global partners on campus, including the Office for International Students and Scholars, the Confucius Institute and the Center for Global and Area Studies.

Article by Elizabeth Adams

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