July 20, 2022

FMU students make summer road trips in 2022

FMU students make summer road trips in 2022

After a two year hiatus, FMU students are once again exploring the jungles of Ecuador, walking Civil War battlefields in Pennsylvania and Virginia, and venturing along the shores of Prince Edward Island, Canada as part of their university experience. Whether the trips last just a few days, or part of a semester, the effect can be transformational.


“The information I learned on this trip will last me a lifetime,” said Brittany Sehnke, an art education major who traveled to the Wildsumaco Biological Station in Ecuador near the start of the summer. “The amount of growth I was able to witness amongst myself and my peers was, and still is, surreal.”


Sehnke was part of a cadre of education students who ventured to Ecuador, learned about Ecuadorian culture and wildlife while participating in biological research projects at the station. A staple of FMU’s international travel program for ten years, Wildsumaco is a collaboration with UNC-Wilmington, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, and the Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary.


Like all FMU students who participate in the program to Wildsumaco, Sehnke spent an hour each day documenting her experience in a scientific journal. As someone who was used to never being without her phone, Sehnke said it was difficult at first to spend so much time unplugged.


“Arriving at the station in Wildsumaco quickly taught me how to forget about my phone and place my focus into the course work,” Sehnke said. “In a forest with constant noise, every second of every day is overwhelmingly interesting.”


“We encourage all our students to participate in FMU’s study abroad programs during their time at the university,” said Dr. Mark Blackwell, Director of International Programs at FMU. “To see the effect travel can have on a student is truly incredible.” 


Sehnke was just one of many students who took advantage of FMU’s renewed international travel opportunities. A group of students also ventured to Prince Edward Island, Canada, in partnership with University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI). 


UPEI is one of the oldest colleges in Canada with a history dating to the early 19th century. A public liberal arts college with roughly the same enrollment at Francis Marion, the two schools have enjoyed a fruitful collaboration to the benefit of the students. UPEI is located on 140 acres in Charlottetown, the capital of the Prince Edward Islands, near beaches and a vibrant cultural scene.


Back in the US, history students traveled to eight Civil War battlefields across Virginia and Pennsylvania, and several members of the Francis Marion University Concert Choir took the stage at Carnegie Hall in New York City with the New England Symphonic Ensemble.


With the fall semester fast approaching, students are ready to enjoy a full slate of travel opportunities; chief among them, international travel. One of the most sought after programs at FMU, the international travel program partners with 11 universities internationally to provide students with opportunities in six different countries. 


Travel opportunities for students at Francis Marion University are made possible through institutional and/or private funding and support.


For more information on international travel, visit https://www.fmarion.edu/internationalprograms/