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The Educated Traveler

October 17, 2008 5:00 AM
New Wave Staff newwave@tulane.edu

For more than 20 years, the Office of Alumni Affairs has offered numerous international trips enabling alumni to see the world with their fellow Tulanians. Many trips are guided by a faculty member with regional expertise. This year is no exception.

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Tulane alumni and their fellow travelers will be exploring the Amazon River during a December alumni trip that will be hosted by Henry Bart, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. (Photo provided by Tulane Alumni Travel)

The Amazon, Israel, Ireland and Scotland are among the more than 30 international outings scheduled in the coming months and 2009.

Not only are the trips a great opportunity to see the world with friends, they are a great way to learn about other locales and cultures, says Chloe Wicks, senior program coordinator.

“The idea is that you're traveling with your peers — both Tulane alumni and other alumni groups — so you get travelers who are really interested and involved,” says Wicks. “Within those groups, the Tulane travelers are definitely the most fun.”

One highlight of this year's schedule is an Amazon River journey in December, which is being hosted by Henry Bart, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. Bart, director and curator of fishes of the Tulane Museum of Natural History, has traveled extensively in the region and has ongoing collaborations with Brazilian and Peruvian fish biologists.

Along with providing an enjoyable experience, the trips promote “responsible tourism” by having a built-in educational component, Wicks says, adding that learning and having a good time are not mutually exclusive.

Trips organized by alumni affairs also tend to offer a level of access that one wouldn't have normally.

“The travel companies often have access to things and places that you wouldn't have if you were traveling alone,” Wicks says. “For instance, in Russia, we will enter the Hermitage an hour before it opens to the general public and be given a special tour of the state rooms and the Winter Palace. So we're not going to deal with the same crowds — and we'll get a special tour.”

Wicks maintains that these trips tend to attract travelers who are looking to be engaged.

“The pacing of these trips is very full and rich. Many of our alumni are out and about getting a feeling for the countries and cultures,” Wicks says, adding, “These trips are for everyone at any age. If you wish to relax on a cruise ship or explore Machu Picchu, Tulane travel has something to offer everyone.”

The Tulane Alumni Travel website has more information about excursions and a full list of this year's trips, or call 877-4TULANE (877-488-5263).