PULLMAN, Wash. — When a group of travelers ventured south of the border last summer they explored 400 miles of the Yucatan Peninsula through Washington State University’s Conferences & Institutes Yucatan Study Tour program. This summer, about 20 WSU honors students will join the Mexico-bound travelers and receive college credit at the same time.
The first ever combined group of WSU honors students and non-credit study travelers will journey together to the Yucatan May 16-29. The honors students will receive credit for up to two required honors seminars.
“It’s such a refreshing idea,” said Gail Rowland, WSU Conferences and Institutes conference manager and director of last year’s adult trip. “This is a fantastic opportunity for both groups to share different perspectives and experiences with one another.”
The honors students will begin with a week on the WSU campus for seminar lectures “Understanding Mexican Art, Cultures and Tradition and Their Influence on the U.S.,” and “Equal Right & Justice: Aspiration of Caribbean People from 15th Century to Present.” The students will then spend the next two weeks in the Yucatan with the non-credit study group, finally returning to the WSU campus for closing lectures.
Highlights include a trip to Merida, the Yucatan state capital, and to famous archaeological sites such as Chichen Itza, Edzna and Uxmal. The group will explore the caves of the Grutas de Loltun — the colonial city of Campeche — and venture to the beaches of Akumal to discover the Giant Turtles and their eggs. The next stop is the walled city of Tulum, the first Mayan structure sighted by the Spanish in the 16th century. Travelers will then visit the Coba lakes and pyramids in the Quintana Roo jungle and end in Xcaret where a series of underwater tunnels lie.
“It’s the adventure of a lifetime,” said Jessica Cassleman, Honors Program assistant director and honors seminar professor. “I wish I could take everyone I know down to the Yucatan Peninsula to experience what you cannot get from reading books, staying at hotels or watching the Discovery Channel.”
Both groups will visit the sites together during the majority of the trip; however, their accommodations and meal packages will differ.
A mini-grant from the WSU Summer Session reduces the price for honors students. Their costs are $660 for airfare and $1,575 for hotel, ground transportation, meals, guides, lecturers, snorkeling and sites visited. Summer session tuition is $165 per credit.
The cost for non-credit study tour participants is between $1,900 and $2,600, depending on final accommodations and number of travelers in the party.
For more student information, contact Jessica Cassleman at 335-4505. Study tour adults can register with Conferences & Institutes at 335-3530 or 1-800/942-4978.