The campus sponsored a trip to Wales for students enrolled in two of its Spring 2004 classes.
Wales 2004 trip participants (left to right) Kathy Coy, Kevin Coy, Amy Guthrie (adjunct instructor in French), Shawna Randolph, Kameelah Gloster, Kevin Troubaugh, Dr. Clifford Manlove (Asst. Professor of English), and Ray Fan together at Haverford West.
Students enrolled in the Welsh Art and Architecture and the Anglo-Welsh Poetry classes traveled to Wales under the supervision of McKeesport faculty members Amy Guthrie, adjunct instructor in French, and Dr. Clifford Manlove, Assistant Professor of English.
Dr. Manlove on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Trail, near St. David's on the coast of Wales.
During the trip students toured the Welsh fishing town of Tenby and the cities of Swansea and Cardiff (the Welsh capital). Among the sites visited and studied by the McKeesport students were several Norman castles, sacred Celtic and Iron-Age sites, the home and haunts of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, St. David's Cathedral, the Gower Peninsula, Cardiff Castle and Civic Centre, the National Museum and Gallery of Wales, and other Welsh museums of art and history. Flying into Londen en route to and from Wales, the students also had the opportunity to visit Stonehenge, Trafalgar Square, and Buckingham Palace in England.
Ms. Guthrie and Dr. Manlove planned the Welsh experience to allow the students a balance of structured tours and time to become more ingrained in Welsh culture. Students were encouraged to visit markets and local eateries, to use local transportation, observe music and other art forms, and communicate with the Welsh people. The Welsh are considered a "minority" population within Great Britain; many also speak the language, distantly related to Irish and Scottish.
The international experience is meant to expand the horizons of the participating students, increasing their understanding of what is involved in foreign travel. Trips are also meant to create a broader perspective and acceptance of others as students are exposed to a different culture. Comparisons to their own lives in America are common as students experience the food, language (including slang) and lifestyle of the country being visited. For example, in Wales, the students became acutely aware of why the Welsh people are dependent on public transportation as the price of gasoline was noted at $6.00 per gallon.
As part of the Welsh Art and Architecture class, students were asked to view art and architecture of different time periods, making connections between art and history. In the Anglo-Welsh Poetry course, students studied Dylan Thomas and the references drawn from the Thomas poems to the Welsh culture and its people.
Welsh poet Dylan Thomas's shed in which he did writing in the latter years of his career, 1940s, 1950s.
Students in both classes were required to keep a daily journal of their travels and personal observations. The journal was the final assignment for both courses and was meant to make the students reflect on their experiences while in Wales. The journals will also give the instructors insight on the students' perspectives for future planning.