Honors Cultural Routes trip “broadens horizons”

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    The Cultural Routes Trip gives 14 students in the John V. Roach Honors College the opportunity to travel throughout Europe for four weeks in May and June.

    Honors college students applied for the trip in November 2012. Over 70 students applied, but only 28 were accepted for this summer's programs, which include the Cultural Routes 5 trip at the beginning of the summer, and the Cultural Pathways trip, scheduled to begin in June. The CR5 students were accompanied by Dr. Ronald Pitcock and honors college advisor Colby Bosher.

    Pitcock, Director of Prestigious Scholarships for the Honors College, has led the trip for the past five years. For him, the trip isn’t about the countries he and the students get to visit as much as it is about the experiences and people they come in contact with throughout the four-week trip.

    “The real joy for me in the trip is experiencing these sights with people who have never been there before,” Pitcock said.

    The 14-student CR5 group started their trip in Berlin and then made their way across Europe, visiting Munich, Germany; Interlaken, Switzerland; Cinque Terre, Florence and Rome, Italy.

    Pitcock said the students do most of their learning by exploring the city throughout the day and then reconvening with Pitcock and Bosher at night.

    Bret Hildebrandt, a sophomore business major, said he was sold on the trip once he attended a Cultural Routes info session and heard first-hand accounts of the trip.

    “I wasn’t sold on being away from TCU for an entire semester, so I thought something shorter would be ideal,” Hildebrant said. “I expected the trip to broaden my horizons, and it did that and more.”

    However, Hildebrandt said that the most valuable lesson he learned was to shed his pre-conceived notions.

    “Whether it was a strange looking food, or a person I would not ever think to associate myself with, this trip really forced me to try things I would not usually try,” Hildebrandt said.