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Students, professors prepare for January Italy trip

JACKSON, Tenn.Oct. 4, 2012 – Fifteen Union University students are preparing for their first trip to Italy during the annual tour January 7-21 led by Melinda Posey and Jason Crawford.

Posey, assistant professor of art, attended the trip as a student about 10 years ago and as a professor last year.

“You can’t throw a stone in these cities and not hit something of historical interest,” Posey said. “The amazing thing is the way all of these items intersect and build upon each other. You can have a 14th century building and an A.D. 100 building connected with a 17th century bridge. It all overlaps and intersects in ways that only Italians can nonchalantly layer history.”

Posey said previous trips included destinations such as Rome, Florence, Milan and Venice.

The itinerary changes each year, however. Students will still see the usual destinations, but Crawford, assistant professor of English, said he and Posey added a trip to Siena to the schedule.

Students have the choice of taking Arts in Western Civilization with Posey or World Literature I or II with Crawford for class credit during the winter cohort semester.

Posey will begin her art class Nov. 6, which will meet every Tuesday night until the first week of December.

Crawford will begin his English classes the week after Thanksgiving. The classes will continue until early January, as much of the class requirements will be fulfilled online.

Although students will have completed their exams and class work before leaving for the trip, both professors said the learning will continue in Italy.

Crawford said one of the best things about the trip is that Italy itself is a textbook for the students, as the time spent traveling there will be like a classroom experience.

“I can describe the Florence Duomo and Baptistry with pictures and lectures in my classroom,” Posey said, “but it is a whole different experience sitting on the cathedral steps, eating gelato and gazing into the glinting light of golden doors of the Battistero di San Giovanni while listening to Italian language swirling around you. What an amazing way to solidify what you have studied.”

Although Crawford said he and Posey have a busy itinerary planned, they purposely allowed time in the schedule for students to explore the different cities and have their own adventures away from the tour guide.

“Trips like this are so dense and powerful that it can be hard to know just how each person will be changed,” Crawford said. “My hope is that each student really encounters the places we visit: the antiquity, the spirituality, the beauty, the majesty, the deep humanity and the fingerprints of God in those places.”

The trip costs about $3,500, plus tuition for the class. The tuition may be reduced, Posey said, if a student has scholarships that can be applied to a winter cohort semester.

Students should pay their trip deposits by Oct. 6. Final payments will be due Nov. 8.

For more information, contact Posey at mposey@uu.edu or Crawford at jmcrawford@uu.edu.

By Beth Byrd (’13)

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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