What is the best of Western Europe? Answering this subjective question was part of the learning experience for a group Genesee Community College students who traveled collaboratively with students from five State University of New York bachelorette institutions, specifically The College at Brockport, Buffalo State, SUNY Albany, SUNY Oneonta and SUNY Cortland.
Together, they shared a 17-day journey through Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands this past June. Their first-hand experiences will be on display in a photography exhibit opening at the Genesee Center for the Arts in the Stuart Steiner Theatre Lobby on Thursday, October 8, 2015.
From June 9 through June 25, the 24 students from six SUNY institutions explored the differences between cultures documenting their observations through the lens of a camera. They studied each nation’s history, language, architecture, art and contemporary culture. Their discoveries allowed them to earn six college credits, three for Digital Photography under Heather Jones, GCC associate professor in Fine Arts, and three for Sociology under Josephine Kearney, GCC assistant professor of Sociology.
The “Best of Western Europe” was the fifth study abroad program organized by the GCC professors through a collaborative agreement with The College at Brockport. Using public transportation, the group visited an incredible array of landmarks including the Vatican and the Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge, Versailles, Sagrada Familia and Park Guell in Barcelona, Notre Dame, the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, and world renowned museums such as the Louvre, Van Gogh, Salvador Dali, Picasso and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Students wrote about their observations in essays that accompany their photographs, comparing U.S. and European life styles, learning as they traveled.
“It is amazing how this annual study abroad program continues to develop and provide students with a rich learning experience that is eye-opening and often life-changing,” Jones said about the students’ efforts and their photographs. “The work they produced is striking and truly a reflection of the power of studying cultures by seeing and experiencing them first-hand. It was an amazing life venture for all of us.”
Professors Jones and Kearney are already planning future trips for 2016 and 2017.
A reception for exhibition will be held on Thursday, October 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. in conjunction with the reception for Nate Hodge’s art exhibit in the adjoining Rosalie “Roz” Steiner Art Gallery. Go to www.genesee.edu/gallery or www.facebook.com/gccgallery for details.
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