Study Abroad This Summer in Alaska With Elon University: It’s Not As Cold As You Might Think

By Carolyn VanBrocklin

This summer marks the fourth year that Elon University will be hosting a study abroad trip to Alaska during the summer 2009 semester.

Photo courtesy of Jessie Cavallaro

Photo courtesy of Jessie Cavallaro

The study abroad experience is spent studying literature and culture in Alaska. Students spend a week at Elon, and then travel to Alaska to hike and canoe through various locations on the Kenai Peninsula.

This year, the trip will be led by Joe Jacob and adjunct professor who lives in Alaska three to five months out of the year and Cassie Kircher a professor of English.

The landscape is lush and gorgeous and students get the chance to see many fascinating sights. In particular, if students “go sit some place and be still” the wildlife will often come close out of curiosity said Jacob.

The experience is very relaxed. Jacob referred to the itinerary as more of a blueprint, which depends on weather, location and local wildlife movement.

Photo courtesy of Jessie Cavallaro

Photo courtesy of Jessie Cavallaro

The students drive around Alaska in Jacob’s van nicknamed Molly Brown. Students camp the entire time, except for a few nights which are spent in facilities with kitchens and plumbing. Jacob advised participants to pack light, and bring a tent and sleeping bag.

Despite what some from the North Carolina area might believe, Alaska does not remain cold all summer, although it would be cold compared to the weather in North Carolina. The nights can get as high as 30 degrees, and be in the mid-60s during the day. In addition, the Alaskan summers include about 22 hours of daylight per day.

“We saw some beautiful stuff walking up there in the mountains” said Jacob.

This Alaska study abroad experience teaches students about the culture and the people, which is decidedly different from the rest of the United States. Cavallaro said that on her trip the students were able to visit a museum with many fascinating artifacts.

Photo courtesy of Jessie Cavallaro

Photo courtesy of Jessie Cavallaro

“I think about it all the time,” said Jessie Cavallaro, who participated in the study abroad experience during the summer of 2008. “Alaska is just totally different.”

One aspect of the experience that Jacob and Cavallaro highlighted was the camaraderie that develops between the students. “We all bond together, there’s no competition and we all just get along,” Cavallaro said.

Hear Joe Jacob discuss the study abroad in Alaska experience:


One Response

  1. I’m looking forward to reading the interviews, quoted material you will add, and I’m hoping for photos and video!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: