Students in the B.Hum study a full range of human thought and wisdom, from prehistory to the present, in the form of “great books” and works of art and music produced across the world. This new travel course initiative is designed as a capstone course for students to travel to some of the places studied during their 4 year degree. Travel plans and themes will change each time the course is offered in accordance with the specialties of accompanying professors, but will include visits to museums and historic sites in different parts of the world to deepen and strengthen student connections to the Humanities with this fantastic experiential learning opportunity.

The planned itinerary for May 2023 will take students to Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, and the environs of these historic and monumental cities, and will explore the formation of identity in the past and present through reflection on the history of the various sites, and the modern constructions of that history, through the lenses afforded by the unique course of study offered in the B.Hum.

The Background

The Bachelor of Humanities – the only four-year Humanities degree of its kind in Canada – is the flagship program of the College of the Humanities. It takes seriously the traditional belief in the transformative value of the study of the liberal arts. Through close engagement with great works from a variety of disciplines, cultures, and historical periods, it aims to produce truly well-rounded, productive, adaptable, and critical thinkers capable of strong leadership in today’s disruptive economy.  In this program, and in all of the courses offered in the larger College, faculty foster each of the skills and competencies called for in today’s workforce and which are required for successful and happy lives.  This is borne out by the overwhelming successes of our alumni, who go on to become top doctors, lawyers, and novelists, and leaders of business and industry, education, international development, public policy, scientific research, and many other fields.

Learning with us, and with each other, is a journey during which students find themselves and their purpose; they learn who they are, what they enjoy, how to participate in a social setting, how to listen and how to communicate, how to lead and how to follow.  Education in the humanities is a well-established contributor to life-long well-being and health; at its core is the quality of human life.  College faculty are committed to cultivating the whole student and making university education more than vocational training or technical-skills-acquisition.  We strive to make university education a meaningful pathway to a more holistic form of productivity, awareness, and resilience.

As a capstone course, themes/topics will draw on the multidisciplinary strength of the Humanities program in examining the complexity of the human experience from the relevant literary, philosophical, historical, artistic, musical, political, and religious perspectives which make up the curriculum of the program. The ability to offer these students a travel course that takes them on a guided tour of some of the places they have studied to think about the ideas that originated there, will serve to reinforce and make real the intellectual journey they are completing with us.

The Rollout

Funds received through this Future Funder site will go directly to subsidize student travel in the for-credit capstone course that we have created. Not only do many of our students work to support themselves in school, but we also recognize that travel during summer term compromises students’ abilities to begin work immediately after the winter term ends. Our intention is to make travel more affordable for all of our students by offering each of them a subsidy of at least $1000. Further, we intend to offer additional supplemental funding for students with financial need, who would otherwise be unable to travel with us due to the high costs involved.

The Impact

After reading countless books from diverse places, times, cultures, and contexts over the course of the B.Hum, the ability to travel and tour in the very places in which the ideas were hatched and nurtured, is priceless. Students will get to experience firsthand the cultural contexts, the people, the historical reconstructions and artifacts that they had previously only read about. One of the goals and accomplishments of studying in the Humanities is the inculcation of empathy for the Other, across space and time and culture, and the ability to appreciate differing perspectives, circumstances, and situations. Touring in other geographical and cultural contexts strengthens the development of this empathy and enriches the intellectual journey through emotional attachment and valence. This makes students better people, and better world citizens.

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