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July 22, 2011

ULM study abroad program shows students and community how to "Walk Across History"

Each year, the University of Louisiana at Monroe History Department selects a historically significant place outside of the United States, and orchestrates a trip through the Walk Across History travel abroad program.

Laurie Walker, an instructor in the history department, organizes the program each year.

Past trips abroad have included historically relevant locations including Cairo, Paris, and Berlin.

"The goal is to immerse students in history, and hopefully, bring to life what they have learned in the classroom," Walker said.

"But an important additional component is that members of the community are welcome to join the students in the learning experience," she added.

"Traveling in this way is not only economical, it can be a lot of fun, while also being educational and informative. It is so much more than just a vacation abroad."

"It is one thing to read and learn about Europe in classes or just readings," said Robert Behof. "It is a whole different experience when you are able to visit these locations for the first time."

Walker meticulously plans each day of the trip so that participants get the most out of their time.

"We didn't have to worry about missing anything," said ULM History Graduate Student Jennifer Mann. "When I traveled to Europe by myself in the past, it was very difficult to make sure I was getting the most from my experience. Ms. Walker had been to Berlin before, so she knew exactly where to go and what to see."

This year, Walk Across History participants will travel to Italy for a week in December.

"Pagans to Popes" will provide an opportunity to explore such historically significant places as the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, the Trevi Fountain and the Coliseum.

If enough people register for the program, this weeklong experience can even be counted as course credit at ULM.

In addition to having daily excursions planned, the upcoming trip includes round trip airfare from the United States, ground transportation in Italy, and accommodation at a hotel throughout the length of stay.

There are optional excursions around Italy available for an additional cost.

"I felt an overwhelming urge to travel more," said ULM alum Randy Markland, following a trip to Paris in 2007.

"I have a better appreciation now of the fact that cultures can be very similar and yet very different."

The deadline to register for the Walk Across History Program in Italy is Sept. 29. Spots are filled on a first come, first served basis.

Interested students and community members may contact Laurie Walker at lwalker@ulm.edu or 318-342-1088 or visit www.walkacrosshistory.com.

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