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Experiential learning trips take GSW students beyond the classroom over Spring Break

AMERICUS, GA (March 28, 2024) – Students from Georgia Southwestern State University traveled to Bulgaria, Serbia, Washington, D.C. and Sapelo Island during Spring Break engaging in impactful, experiential learning opportunities.

Students enrolled in UNIV 4000 traveled to Bulgaria and Serbia for a study abroad trip. They immersed themselves in the local cultures through visits to Plovdiv, the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, and Veliko Tarnovo, an ancient capital of Bulgaria. The group explored museums and archeological sites, interacted with the local people, and enjoyed a variety of local cuisines.

In Bogomilovo, the students did yard work and collected trash on the streets as part of the service component of the class and the trip. Afterwards, they experienced dinner prepared by the locals of Bogomilovo, participated in traditional Bulgarian dances, and listened to the performance of Milen Stoykov, a famous Bulgarian saxophone player.

The group also spent one day in Nish, Serbia, where they visited several historic sites and relaxed along the Nishava River.

“The study abroad to Bulgaria was an amazing experience,” said student Jackie Stokes. “I am so happy I had the opportunity to go,” “The culture, people, and history of the cities we traveled to really opened my eyes to how amazing this world is. It is a trip I will remember forever.”

Student K.J. Daniels also expressed his appreciation of the trip. “I enjoyed Bulgaria because of its rich history and how honest the people were. I was able to see why the people of Bulgaria are proud of their beautiful homeland through all of its history.”

Students on the trip were Grace Layman, Kenneth Daniels, Kennedy Daniels, Ajai Myles, Zykarius Harshaw, Esther Coulibaly, Kendall Slough, Makayla Dorough, Lascelles Anderson, Temple Williams, and Jackie Stokes. They were accompanied by faculty members Nellie Iordanova and Benjamin Meador.

Students in the Department of Visual Arts traveled to Richmond, Va. and Washington, D.C. to participate in the National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts Conference. The group installed an official conference exhibition titled “Ceramic Oasis on the Silk Road: The Lanzhou Ceramic Residency.” They had the opportunity to meet with several of the artists and participate in other conference lectures and exhibitions.

During several days in D.C., the group explored monuments and museums. Each student chose a research topic that influenced their selection of museum and area of interest. The students will produce works inspired by their research to be exhibited during the Fall 2024 semester.

Students on the trip were Ivon Perez, EJ Braswell, Lexi Glass, Eden Morris, and Noah Miller. They were accompanied by faculty members Justin Hodges and Keaton Wynn and alumna Amber Moore.

Biology students explored the diverse environments of Sapelo Island, a barrier island off the coast of Georgia, where they observed and surveyed organisms in these varied habitats. The island’s diverse ecosystem and natural beauty make it an ideal location for biology field classes.

A small portion of the island is designated as the University of Georgia Marine Institute – a leader in salt marsh research that served as the host for this adventure. The trip included a trawler trip out into Doboy Sound where marine life was sampled, identified and quantified as part of a long-term study.

“The trip to Sapelo Island was incredibly informative,” said Kylie Lawhorn, a biology major. “Most of all it was a positive, collaborative experience with my peers, professors, and staff from other USG institutions. The plants we observed were incredibly unique, and something I would have never had the opportunity to see if it were not for this trip. We got to experience the culture of the island where residents live a life of solidarity. It was a trip of a lifetime!”

Students on the trip included Kylie Lawhorn, Aleyah Niette and Will Owens, accompanied by faculty members Anne Jacobs, Stephanie Harvey, Tom Lorenz and Surya Amarachintha.