MCCC Students Are Going to Italy


West Windsor, N.J. -- MCCC Associate Business Professor Andrea Lynch, coordinator of MCCC's new Study Abroad Program, reports that students will be packing their bags for Italy this spring. Twenty-three students and three faculty members will enjoy eight days of food, culture, history and more from May 19-28. (The other trip, planned for Germany/Switzerland, did not attract enough participants.)

With the rapid approach of the Feb. 12 registration deadline, excitement surrounding the trip is mounting. The group is comprised of students from Professor Marilyn Dietrich's Architecture and Culture: International course (ARC 141), instructor Chris dePagnier's Food and Culture course (HOS 115), and seven noncredit students, along with the three faculty members.

Leading the trip to Italy are faculty members, from left,
Andrea Lynch, Chris dePagnier and Marilyn Dietrich.

According to Lynch, participants range from teens - Lynch's own two children - to senior citizens. "Clearly, we picked a popular destination that spans the generations," Lynch said.

The award-winning Casterbridge Tours has been selected to organize the trip from beginning to end and will provide expert tour guides at each stop. Among the many destinations are the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, and a hike up Mt. Vesuvius for the truly adventurous. One of the group's final activities will be to prepare an authentic, multicourse Italian meal and then enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Both dePagnier and Dietrich have been to Italy and are eager to return. DePagnier can't wait to show students around Pompeii. "It provides the clearest example of preservation anywhere. Bodies, cooking and eating utensils, and even bread can be seen 'in situ,'" he says. And, the two professors say they can't wait to learn from each other.

Prior to the trip, students will spend seven weeks in class covering regular course requirements. Additionally, they will meet for one final session upon their return to share their experiences, assess the trip and make PowerPoint presentations of their collected images.

Lynch notes that some students received financial aid and Americorps assistance to cover costs for the trip. Both courses can be used towards the college's general education requirements, making them of interest to the largest number of students.

Why start a Study Abroad program? Lynch notes that travel has become a regular part of the curriculum at many four-year schools, including TCNJ, Rider and Rowan. "With the economy weakened, families are sending young people to Mercer who might have previously gone to four-year schools . They may be saving money on college that they can spare for the trip. And travel offers the kind of cultural enrichment that truly broadens opportunities for our students," Lynch says.

Trip planning for the 2010-2011 school year is already under way. Possible destinations include Costa Rica with sociology and service-learning classes, London with history, fine arts and architecture classes, and Paris with microbiology and food and culture classes.

For more information, contact Andrea Lynch at or 570-3660.

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