Over spring break in March 2013, 28 Fairmont State University students from the Honors, French, Business and Architecture programs will travel to Paris.
Led by Kirk L. Morphew, Associate Professor of Architecture; Dr. Erin L. Hippolyte, Associate Professor of French; and Dr. Sunil Surendran, Professor of Business, the students will interconnect with art, architecture, language, literature, theatre, history, geography, geology, music and economics that have contributed to the life and culture of Paris as a city and France as a country. Students will develop skills they need in order to explore cultures and civilizations outside their own, and they will be encouraged to work as a team as they explore.
“If Yeats is correct that ‘Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire,’ then I can think of no better spark to ignite that fire than travel. Travel is an essential experience and a great tradition in the education of an architect,” Morphew said.
“Paris is a classic destination, one of the most popular for tourists through the years and also a crossroads of global cultures in everyday Parisian life. The city is a manageable size with good public transportation, making it ideal for exploration,” Hippolyte said.
While in Paris, students will visit popular tourist sites and will enjoy activities that are tailored to their areas of study. The students will visit the Bibliothèque Nationale François Mitterrand and the iconic Arc de Triomphe. After a climb up to the top of the Arc, students will have a panoramic view of the “City of Lights” and will see a movie that provides the history of the city from 1836.
On a guided tour, students will visit the Champs de Mars, the Eiffel Tower, the Opéra Garnier, Les Champs Elysées and the boutiques of the Faubourg St. Honoré. On the Ile de la Cité, they will visit Notre Dame de Paris.
Morphew has designed a tour to show the architectural ages of Paris by tours of the churches of St Germain-des-Près, La Sainte Chapelle and St Denis.
“Students will gain the ability to navigate throughout Paris with the subway and bus systems and to be familiar with the city culturally and historically. It is a gateway experience to encourage further travel and exploration of the world. They can gain confidence and a wider perspective during even a short experience abroad,” Hippolyte said.
Architecture students will make a side trip to Ronchamp to visit the architectural marvel of Notre Dame du Haut church. Other side trips include Chartres to see the medieval Gothic cathedral there and to Poissy to visit the Villa Savoye.
Not only is it a learning experience, but it also should be an enjoyable trip for the students as well.
“Paris is one of my favorite cities, in which, to do ordinary things, like drink an espresso, eat a piece of bread, and take a walk,” Hippolyte said.