The Department of Modern Languages and Cultures takes a hands-on approach to travel with our students. Every year we take a group of our majors and minors on a faculty-led experiential learning field trip to help strengthen their knowledge by having them use their language of study in a real world setting.
For the eighth year in a row, the Department of Modern Languages and cultures has brought their students on an experiential learning trip. This year, with partial funding from the Promoting Excellence in Diversity Grant and the School of Arts and Sciences, students visited Boston, an international hub of art and culture.
After driving in the “Jolly Green Giant” 15-seater van on their first morning, they toured the amazing, vibrant, and meaningful sculptures of Spanish artist Okuda that dot the seaport. They saw this stunning example of public art and contemplated its deeper meaning concerning the encroachment of civilization upon nature.
The next day they visited the impressive Isabella Stewart-Gardner Museum to view works from artists from all over the world in a museum unlike any other in the country. Students wrote about pieces like Sargent’s Jaleo in their experiential learning assignment sheets that they loved how the piece conveys “emotion through detail” and Raphael’s Portrait of Tomasso Inghirami for and its “use of light which focuses the elegance of the subject.”
On the third day they visted the Museum of Fine Arts where they were greeted by a thought provoking protest of the 19th century Native American equestrian statue. Given that it was Columbus Day/indigenous Peoples Day, this challenge was an invigorating way to begin their journey. Once inside they saw many pieces of art that had them questioning portrayal of women, class, and the spiritual quest for the divine.
Before leaving, they bought amazing tacos from an authentic tacqueria and visited the Sociedad Latina in Mission Hill, where they learned about ways that the Latinx community is served by this local charity and youth organization, seeing an exact representation of the way in which their degree is preparing them for a potential career.
Upon arriving back in Brockport in the “Jolly Green Giant” the students had experienced culture from all over the world, expanded their understanding of what it means to serve the community, and enjoyed the camaraderie of experiential learning.
Last Spring, we went to Montreal and visited Chateau Ramsey, le Place d’Armes, the Notre-Dame Basilca, the Jean Talon Public Market, and an exhibit on Inuit people. We experienced the frigid environment of Canada while walking to enjoy some of their cultural specialties such as poutine. The highlight of the trip was visiting the Marc Chagall exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts.
New York City
This Fall, we decided to go back to New York City. We visited a handful of museums including the Museo del Barrio, Metropolitan Museum of Art (The MET) and, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. We also visited Chinatown and Little Italy and went for a walk to Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge. The students also had free time in which they used to explore the city with each other. Some of them went to Times Square, while others went to the top of the Empire State Building.
“As a college freshman originating from a small town, my main expectation of this experience was that it would be one in which I could expand my horizons. I had never been to New York City prior to this trip, and I had never been to a place where so many people spoke Spanish. The museums that I visited, such as El museo del Barrio, the Tenement Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, all increased my awareness that I am part of a much larger world than the place in which I grew up. For these reasons, I would recommend this trip to any language majors or minors eager to dive into their learning and growing experiences. Each destination that we visited held an important meaning or learning experience. I enjoyed that this trip increased my knowledge of the past, while also preparing me for my future.”