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Alvord Center Announces 2017-18 Student Travel Programs

Loomis Chaffee students have the opportunity to participate in group travel programs in Spain, Puerto Rico, the Galapagos Islands, Vietnam and Cambodia, Hungary, and the canyons of southeastern Utah as part of the 2017–18 International Education Programs offered through Loomis' Alvord Center for Global & Environmental Studies.

This year's school theme is Globalization, so the announcement of these six wide-ranging travel experiences is both exciting and timely, said Marley Matlack, director of International Education Programs and associate director of the Alvord Center.

Each year the Alvord Center organizes educational travel that will broaden students' understanding of what it means to be a global citizen in today's world. According to Marley, the Alvord Center's objectives include ensuring that these comprehensive experiences are in line with the Loomis mission to foster concern for the greater community and for the environment. Additionally, care is taken to integrate the travel experience into the curriculum across departments, encouraging students to make multiple connections in their experiential learning and interactions while traveling and upon their return to Loomis.

Two new travel programs offered during March Break include a science-based exploration of the Galapagos Islands and a backpacking and river-rafting exploration through the canyons of southeastern Utah.

Participants in the Galapagos program will work alongside researchers from the Galapagos Science Center and the University of San Francisco to complete a citizen science project. The Loomis travelers will help measure and examine the impact of aquatic micro-plastic pollutants on the native wildlife and environment of the Galapagos archipelago. Additional program activities will include hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, touring a volcano, and observing wildlife.

During the eight-day Utah excursion, program participants will explore the landscapes of the state's southeastern canyon region and learn about the area's natural, cultural, and literary history. Participants will tour archeological sites, engage in leadership activities, and learn how to ethically and sustainably enjoy natural spaces with a goal of protecting them for the future.

Three programs with June departure dates round out this year's slate of International Educational Program opportunities: a learning-service program in Puerto Rico, an arts-focused experience in Spain, and a history and digital storytelling exploration in Vietnam and Cambodia.

The three-week exploration of the complex history, culture, and the unique landscapes of Vietnam and Cambodia through the lens of digital storytelling is a new addition to the Alvord Center's programs. Under the tutelage of a professional journalist, Loomis students will consider ways to tell the stories of these diverse nations and the multifaceted realities of their pasts and presents. Sites on the itinerary include Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta, Phnom Penh, and the Angkor Wat UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In Puerto Rico, Loomis students and their chaperones will work with a local nonprofit organization that focuses on human and environmental needs to assist in communities' recovery from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. The group also will examine the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico and engage in educational exchanges focused on social and environmental justice.

The Loomis Art Department partnered with the Alvord Center to design the travel program focused on Spain's visual, musical, and culinary arts as well as an authentic exploration of the culture. The group will visit local artists, musicians, farmers, and chefs throughout the regions of Barcelona, Galicia, and Castila y Leon.

In November, experienced students in Loomis' Model United Nations organization will travel to Budapest, the historical, cultural, and political hub of Hungary, to join students from around the world for the Yale Model Government Europe Conference. The conference simulates political and diplomatic relations in the European Union in an exercise similar to Model UN conferences.

Connect to the informational brochure of the Alvord Center webpage for more information about the 2017–18 International Education Programs at Loomis.

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