Spring break trip to Honduras

Abbey Swank

Instructor to take group of students on week-long excursion to Caribbean

White sandy beaches. Crystal clear water. Rest and relaxation. Spring break may seem far away, but now is the time to be thinking about it. Kent State offers many exciting trips, including ones for college credits.

Geography instructor Frank Erickson is taking students, as well as non-students, to Honduras and the surrounding area this year. The trip is open to students from all majors and students can earn two credit hours in geography.

“I have been taking students to Latin America since the 1970s,” Erickson said. “Travel is an important growth experience. There are things you can’t teach in a classroom, that you have to go somewhere to see. The trips to Latin America give students and others a chance to experience that.”

The group, which leaves March 23 and returns April 1, will visit the Mayan archaeological site of Copan, tour the Macaw Mountain birding park and the Parque National Jeanette Kawas, a nature preserve, he said.

Students will also visit the historic town of Tela, home of the Garifuna people.

“The Garifuna are descendants of runaway slaves, who have since prospered,” Erickson said. “They have a distinctive music and cuisine. Students will get to experience an authentic Garifuna dinner along with music and dance.”

The last three days of the trip will be spent in Roatan, which is one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean. There, students will be able to snorkel, hike, shop or relax, he said.

Along with the geographic experience, students will also learn how to photograph what they see.

“We’ve combined photography and geography to give it a National Geographic look,” said Kathie Lentz, a professional photographer and instructor on the trip. “And it doesn’t matter what type of camera you bring, because we will be focusing on non-camera aspects that affect photography, such as lighting.”

Lentz, who has been an instructor on the trip for three years, said students will be able to use what they learn in other aspects of their lives because everyone wants to take good photos and on this trip they will learn how.

“We have seen so many amazing things,” she said. “For example, on past trips, we have stood on the equator, looked down into a volcano and rafted down an Amazon tributary. We even spent a night in the rainforest.”

After the trip, students will submit photos they’ve taken to be displayed at a photo show dedicated to the trip. The show runs from April 22 through May 4 in the Music Listening Center of the Student Center, she said.

The cost of the trip is $2,363, which includes all transportation, hotel rooms and most meals. Erickson said students will need extra money to cover meals during free time and any souvenirs they may want.

He said there are still two or three weeks left to register to be able to travel with the group. He said if students decide later that they want to go, they will have to travel alone, but can still meet up with the group once in Honduras.

Pre- and post-trip classes will be held in McGilvery Hall. The pre-trip class will include orientation and a photography lesson, while the post-trip class will cover framing and students will choose which photos they want displayed at the show, Lentz said.

“When you travel, you gain perspective on other countries,” Erickson said. “And, you gain perspective on your own culture through comparison. Also, group travel is great. You get to share the excitement of exotic places with others. You can’t do that if you travel alone.”

For more information on the trip, contact Erickson at (330) 672-3220 or Kathie Lentz at (330) 342-0910.

Contact College of Arts & Sciences reporter Abbey Swank at [email protected].