Students have opportunity to travel to Scandinavia in July


    A new study abroad program, open to all majors, will allow TCU students to travel to different parts of the Scandinavian region for a two-week experience of sustainability and culture.

    The trip will be led by sociology instructor Keith Whitworth and criminal justice instructor Pat Kinkade. They will take students through the capitals of three different countries throughout Northern Europe.

    Whitworth said the group would start out in Stockholm, Sweden, travel by train to Copenhagen, Denmark, and finally take an overnight cruise ship to end their trip in Oslo, Norway.

    Sophomore early childhood education major Annie Duplechain said she has been working with the study abroad office in order to enroll. She said she wanted to go on this particular trip because she has always wanted to study abroad, and the program would incorporate classes for her sociology minor.

    Duplechain said even though she has travelled to Europe before, she was still somewhat nervous because she was unfamiliar with the region. However, she said she was even more excited to experience different cultures.

    Sophomore communication studies major Corley Padgett said she learned about the program from fliers posted around campus and officially enrolled in the program Tuesday. She said she has always wanted to go to Scandinavia because it seemed different from other places in Europe she had travelled.

    “Their culture seems more laid back than ours, and they don’t care so much about money and being workaholics,” she said. “I’d really like to embrace their culture and see a culture like that.”

    Whitworth said he and Kinkade used to lead a similar study abroad program in Japan, but because of the recent earthquake they both felt it would be best to find a new place to take students.

    They both decided Scandinavia would be a fun and interesting place to take students because of its rich culture, history and beautiful sights. He also said Scandinavia was a prime place from a sustainability perspective, which is the focus of the courses of the trip.

    “Scandinavia is leading the world in sustainability initiatives, so it would be a great laboratory for the students,” Whitworth said. “For the students to actually go [to Scandinavia] and see what they are doing is a perfect fit for the course.”

    There are two courses being offered, a criminal justice class and a sociology class, and students have the option of taking one or both. Padgett said she was planning to take the “sociology and sustainability” class, which would be taught by Whitworth, because she wanted to learn more about cultures and gain hands-on experience overseas.

    Whitworth said he and Kinkade travelled to the Scandinavian region this past summer to ready themselves for the trip.

    Brittany Benditz, a student who previously completed the Japan program, and her mother went with the two instructors to provide student feedback for the program, he said.

    “She was really helpful because she was able to scout areas while my wife and I scouted out other areas, so we covered twice as much area in one day,” he said. “Brittany was able to provide us with that student feedback we wouldn’t be able to get on our own.”

    Whitworth said the students were required to do four days of online coursework in the week leading up to their departure. The work would include learning about the history and culture of each country and sustainability so they would be better prepared for their courses abroad.

    Also, in the days leading up to their departure on July 18 the students and professors would come to campus in order to become more acquainted with one another. Whitworth said the participants would meet for dinner the Thursday before they leave, and there would be team-building activities Friday morning.

    For more information on the Scandinavia program and other study abroad opportunities, visit TCU's study abroad site or the study abroad office located in Reed Hall room 214.

    Study Abroad Summer 2012
    Summer Study Abroad Financial Aid Deadline: Dec. 10, 2011
    Summer 2012 Study Abroad Application Deadline: Feb. 15, 2012
    Sociology and criminal justice in Scandinavia dates:
    – One-week online instruction prior to trip: July 9-11
    – On-campus instruction and activities: July 12 and 13
    – Trip dates: July 14-28

    For more information: visit
    or visit the TCU Study Abroad office: Reed Hall 214