By Maggie Collett
Staff reporter

There’s not much to write home about when it comes to the scenery in Kansas. But travel overseas and suddenly there is nothing but exciting and picture-worthy wonders. The college is offering international trips for the 2011-2012 school year.

George Gangwere, professor of physics, went on his first international trip in 1995. “It was sort of an adrenaline rush,” said Gangwere. “I came back thinking that I would like to share that excitement with students.”

Over the years, Gangwere has formed his own way of preparing for international trips. “Before I go on a trip, I do a whole heck of a lot of reading,” said Gangwere.

Gangwere is in the process of planning a trip to Australia during Christmas break of the upcoming school year. The trip is broken up until three parts. One-third of the time will be spent in Sydney and the surrounding area. Activities such as climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge and touring the Sydney Opera House are on the agenda.  One-third of the time will be spent in the Outback at and around Alice Springs.

“It’s pretty much the middle of the country,” said Gangwere.

The last third of the trip will be spent in Cairns. “It’s up in the northeast part of the country,” said Gangwere. “The Great Barrier Reef is just off the shore.”

The cost of the trip is currently $5700 but Gangwere is trying to find a way to reduce the price. The trip is open to all students, faculty, staff, administrators and community people.

Natalie Eldridge, digital arts freshman, said Australia is a place she has always wanted to see. “I’ve always been interested in the Great Barrier Reef and I’ve always wanted to see Sydney,” said Eldridge. “And I love ‘Finding Nemo.’”

Gangwere is leading another trip during the spring 2012 semester. This trip, to China, is quite different from the trip to Australia. “It’s really a study abroad. It’s a whole semester,” said Gangwere.

The semester abroad can be approached from many directions. First there is the intensive language track. Students would take 12 to 15 hours of Chinese language classes. “This would be of interest to someone who really wants to learn the language fast,” said Gangwere.

There is also an education track, where Students enroll in three to six hours of Chinese language and fill the rest of their hours with online education courses. The third track is a business angle. The class schedule is similar to the education track. The student takes three to six hours of language and the rest of the schedule is online business classes.

“How much [Chinese language] you take depends on what your interest is,” said Gangwere.

Some students have already had the opportunity to travel overseas. Sarah Jane Boyer, music senior, traveled to Italy during spring break of 2008. Boyer has comedic memories of the trip. “I got my luggage lost seven out of 10 days we were there,” said Boyer.

She recalled borrowing pieces of clothing from other people’s luggage to wear to a concert they were singing in. “I had a knee-length black skirt from one person and a plain black t-shirt from another person and my black pinstripe Converse,” said Boyer. “And I was dead center of the front row of the choir.”

Boyer said at the time she wouldn’t have had the courage to go on an international trip alone but that she would love to travel overseas alone today. “I would love to go to London by myself,” said Boyer.

Although Boyer’s trip was made difficult by the luggage incident, she still fondly remembers the experience as a whole.

Boyer said, “Being able to see another plac— another culture— was just great.”

Maggie Collett is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at margaret.collett@sckans.edu.