This past Interterm, the CCI program, in conjunction with the Department of World Languages and Cultures, was able to co-host its very first travel course to London and Paris. The class focused on looking at these two cities as hubs of creative and cultural activity and included visits to museums, historic buildings, galleries, landmarks, and tourist sites. These ranged anywhere from traditional places like the British Museum and National Gallery to more unorthodox locations like Spitalfields Market and High Gate Cemetery.
Dr. Patrick Fuery co-led the London portion of the course with Dr. Kelli Fuery, Associate Professor of Film Studies in the Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. He said that the course was an exciting step for the CCI program at Chapman.
“It revealed some of the things that we’re recognizing with CCI already, which is one of its biggest strengths is the diversity of our students,” he said. “We have a full spectrum, basically with students from every college, and that makes it a wonderful melting pot of different perspectives.”
With all of these perspectives, students in the course were able to personalize their research projects. Dr. Patrick Fuery said that students worked on everything from fashion to restaurants to tourism to ballet and theater -- one student even worked on alchemy and science. At each site, no matter what the students were specializing in, they were all able to get something different out of the visit.
Dr. Patrick Fuery said that his favorite part of the course was the students.
“It was the first time I’d ever done a travel course and I liked the students, and I liked being in London with the students,” he said. “It’s always nice to see a familiar city through new eyes.”
Senior CCI minor, Ilana Gale, got to experience both of these cities with fresh eyes as this was her first time traveling to Europe. She wrote a guest blog for us about her experience with the course:
After struggling through accounting last interterm, I wanted to do something a little more exciting. Although I wasn’t planning on an adventure, let’s just say I got more than I bargained for. I had dreamed about visiting London and Paris, and now it was hard to believe in just a few short months, I would be in London. I had never traveled for three weeks on my own, and the idea of it seemed a little daunting. Stepping off the plane at Heathrow Airport, I felt filled with excitement. I couldn’t wait to start exploring.
Simply walking through the city on the first day, I knew I was in love. It was much simpler to navigate than I expected, and there was much to see. Over the next ten days, my class visited several museums and explored different areas throughout London. We were encouraged to observe these cities on a deeper level including sights, smells, and even the feeling associated with walking on certain streets. Through the perspective of CCI, I was able to view something as simple as graffiti in a different way than I normally would. While it can be viewed as defacing property, it can also be seen as a form of expression. Museums were a great creative and cultural industry to observe because exhibits have changed so much over time, and it was interesting to see how they immerse visitors in the experience. My favorite was the Victoria and Albert Museum. I have always been interested in fashion, and it was exciting to see an entire room dedicated to fashion. There was a two-level exhibit in this room that combined media, text, clothing samples, and other items helped me visualize the topic. The food in London was incredible, far beyond what I imagined. I loved Borough Market because I was able to try a variety of foods, and everything was made right in front of me.
As part of the course, everyone on this trip was researching a creative and cultural industry of their choice. I chose fashion and sustainability in London and Paris because both of these cities are known for their global influence on the fashion industry. Throughout the trip, I visited places where I could explore my topic further. In London, I visited stores to see first-hand the impact of fast fashion. I also visited markets such as Spitalfields and Portobello Road to better understand the types of clothing that were sold at markets in contrast with commercial storefronts.
On the eleventh day we boarded a train bound for Paris, and arrived a couple of hours later. Wasting no time, our group headed to the Arc de Triomphe, a couple of miles walking distance from the hotel. As we familiarized ourselves with the city, there were new discoveries each day. Paris moved at a much faster pace than I expected, but I adapted. By the end of the trip, I felt more comfortable navigating the city. Similar to the itinerary in London, we also visited different museums. The Louvre was my favorite. I spent the entire day going through the exhibits, just in awe of its enormity. Of course, the croissants were absolutely incredible; they exceeded my expectations. I also discovered a love for French macarons. One of my favorite experiences was the Eiffel Tower at night, seeing it glisten so beautifully. The view left me speechless. It was so cool recognizing the Arc de Triomphe, Montmartre, and some of the places we visited.
To further research for my project in Paris, I continued to visit stores to better understand fast fashion in this city as well. In addition to fast fashion, I also looked into how high fashion in these cities has become more sustainable. It was a completely different experience to visit these places where I might shop as a tourist than as someone researching for a project. I paid more attention to details about the stores and features of the clothing. After visiting both London and Paris, I left with a different perspective about the fashion industry and sustainability.
While I began this trip not knowing what to expect, I’m truly grateful for this memorable, once in a lifetime experience.
The experiential aspect of actually traveling to these cities is one of the main things that Dr. Patrick Fuery was hoping to focus on in the course. Anyone can do tons of research on a city and be familiar with it through that knowledge, but these students got to see what makes traveling to these cities worthwhile -- for Ilana one of those things was seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle before her own eyes.
Students in the CCI program can look forward to a variety of new travel courses in the future where they will have the opportunity to create more of these experiences for themselves. Courses currently in development include, but are not limited to, subjects such as museum studies in the UK, cultural mapping in Scandinavia, and possibly a study of dark tourism as a subset of Heritage Tourism. Stay tuned for what lies ahead!