Imagine yourself in France and free to explore whatever you want. If you want to visit the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower you can but don’t be surprised if you learn something along the way. This is exactly what Camden County College students just experienced on this year’s Educational Spring Break.  For the past ten days Camden County students have been exploring France, Belgium, and Switzerland on their spring break.

It might sound like an extravagant vacation but there is no denying that the students didn’t return with a bit more knowledge than expected. On the trip the students learned about the small differences in culture and other topics like art and history. “They learned that the food there is different”, said trip organizer Professor Martine Howard. One of the countries included this year was France and it was there that another lesson was learned. “They also learned that France is more than Paris because we went way down south and visited the vineyards and other places,” Professor Howard said.

This year’s Educational Spring Break provided more learning than just cultural differences as Professor Howard told me about all the art and history that they encountered. “In France we visited the Musee d’ Orsay which is known for its impressionism art.” The Musee d’ Orsay has a vast collection of art including paintings, sculptures, and a graphic arts collection. In Belgium the trip stopped to see an important piece of history. “We saw one of Michelangelo’s works of art in Bruges, Belgium called the Mother with Child,” recalled Professor Howard.  The Mother and Child is a white expressionless sculpture of a mother holding her child. The sculpture looks very dark as the eyes are closed and there are no signs of facial expressions on either sculpture. The child is clinging to one of the mother’s hands almost like it is about to fall. This is one of many dark somber sculptures that Michelangelo constructed.

Finally, I asked Professor Howard whether this year’s trip was a success in educating students. “Definitely it was a success, you get to see how other people live and think,” Professor Howard said. According to Professor Howard one of the students agreed with her when she said “This is what the foreign exchange students must feel like when they come over here.”  The Educational Spring Break is a vacation but its purpose is to educate people.

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