Learning through Engagement

Students undertake education on the high seas

A unique course experience, “HTM 385 Educational Study Cruise,” has landed back home.

Carnival Victory Cruise Ship

The May-mester trip to the Caribbean offered students an opportunity to observe behind-the-scenes preparation for a successful cruise ship adventure during the five-day, three credit course.

The experiential part is from a tourism perspective…as travel agents the students have to develop marketing collateral to sell the next cruise.  They take a familiarization tour of the cruise ship, as a travel agent would on a new ship, so they can speak knowledgeably to their client and answer all their questions.

The EXL experience is in its 14th year

The annual trip abroad was initiated by Purdue Calumet HTM Associate Professor and program coordinator Geralyn Farley 14 years ago.

This experiential learning component of education is similar to one she observed with a colleague from Penn State.  “I decided that many of our students lived and worked in Northwest Indiana and were first generation college students who had not had the opportunity to travel outside the country,” she said. “A quote from Saint Augustine has always been a favorite of mine, ‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.’”

May-mester class has become very popular

Approximately 20-30 students register each year, some HTM majors and others from a wide array of study fields, such as engineering, nursing, education, and communication.

This is an elective and experiential course for all majors 21 and older with a valid passport.

Myriad of benefits gained

Highland resident Rachel Hamnik, who recently graduated in broadcast communication, took part in this year’s cruise.

“This class is an amazing learning experience for any major,” she said. “My projects in the class have been to create videos to help sell the cruise. This past cruise, I made a 60-second TV and radio commercial. I also made a highlights video…………….It was not only a good time, but gave me work to put into my portfolio.”

She added that, in addition to learning about the cruise industry, students gain insights about other people and their cultures, which she finds invaluable.

Personal side of the experience

In addition to educational benefits acquired, personal values, such as independence, also are on the plus side of taking this class, according to Farley. “The students will get to know their classmates like they can’t in any other class,” she said. “They also will be exposed to other cultures and cuisines, as well as learn about formal dinners – how to dress, proper etiquette, etc.”