A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.
By Kara Henderson
I never thought that a $0.99 piece of cardboard could profoundly alter the course of my life. In October 2003, Professor Jerry Noland’s poster on the wall at HCC Brandon caught my eye. It declared that I could spend my spring break with her on a ten-day tour of Italy. Before I saw that poster, I had never been north of Washington D.C., and I had never been west of Oklahoma City. Four months later, I stood gaping at the Pantheon in Rome. By the time our tour took us to Florence, I’d decided to change my major from Business Administration to Foreign language so I could make traveling my profession.
USF and HCC English professor Jerry Noland has been taking students beyond their fluorescently-lit, drywall classrooms to humanity’s greatest treasures for years. Beyond the astronomical educational value of their trips, Professor Noland loves globetrotting because “traveling with my students all over Europe has enriched my life so much… I have established friendships with many of these students and often students return to travel with me again and again… traveling with my college students keeps me young at heart as well as young in years.”
Although Professor Noland has been to several countries on numerous occasions, she feels that she sees the sights anew each time because her students are experiencing those same sights for the very first time. She also feels that travel is essential for students because increasing globalization does not equal Americanization. Cultural awareness is becoming more and more paramount in social and business interactions. How are International Business majors to be successful if they have never experienced a culture outside of their own?
Additionally, Professor Noland points out that travel forces people outside of their comfort zones and forces them to look beyond themselves. She’s seen shy people blossom into regular chatterboxes, seen people taste foods they would have never have had the desire to try otherwise, and seen trip mates bond who might never have given one another a moment’s glance in any other circumstance.
As for myself, I feel a proud sense of connection and belonging in travel. on Professor Noland’s trip to Greece last year, I was struck with the revelation that I was part of the cerulean waters surrounding the temple of Poseidon (because my body is composed mostly of water). As such, I was the water that rendered me so transfixed.
Reflecting back, I realize that each country has its own unique energy; its own unique lesson. Italy taught me that dreams larger than life are just the right size. I was broke and disillusioned when I went, and when I returned home, I was rich with experience and bursting with inspiration. Greece soothed my soul at a time when I needed comfort the most and revealed to me that most answers can be found in silence. This year, Professor Noland’s tour will take me to Spain and Morocco, and I can’t wait to discover what gems they have to offer.
For her 2007 excursions, “mama Noland,” as her traveling companions affectionately refer to her, will travel to Italy for the week of spring break and to Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England for two and a half weeks of summer. For airfare, museum fees, hotel stays, guides, transportation, and certain meals, the trips cost a mere $1,300- $3,000. Don’t worry if a tour renders you short on pocket change for a while- these trips are worth much more than money.
If you’re interested in exploring the cobblestone streets of London, kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland, making a wish at the Trevi Fountain in Italy, or trying to catch a glimpse of the loch ness monster in Scotland, Professor Noland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep an eye out for those life-altering posters. I still get heart palpitations when I think of how close I came to living out the rest of my days in a cubicle. Thank you, mama Noland, for giving me the world.