Nearly 200 George Fox University students and 15 faculty members will embark on nine international study trips all over the world — including Africa, Central America, South America, Europe, the Middle East and the Far East — for three weeks in May.

The trips are part of the university’s Juniors Abroad program, which, since 1987 has annually sent third- and fourth-year students on overseas study trips led by professors. George Fox pays transportation and program costs; students pay room and board. Each trip holds preparation classes during the spring semester.

The Juniors Abroad program is one reason George Fox ranks high nationally for study abroad participation. With nearly half of the university’s traditional undergraduates experiencing an overseas study experience before graduation, George Fox ranks among the top 50 schools in the nation in the percentage of students who study abroad, according to data compiled by U.S. News & World Report magazine for its 2013-2014 “America’s Best Colleges” issue.

A study tour to Central America will include stops in Honduras, Costa Rica and El Salvador, focusing on the Christianity and culture of the region. Students will compare and contrast the different cultures and religious beliefs they encounter in the various regions they visit as well as their development through a historical study.

Students visiting East Africa will focus on endangered wildlife, exploring a variety of rich and distinctive ecosystems, such as jungles, tropical rainforests, tea plantations, savannas and marine habitats.

One study tour will explore the natural and cultural diversity of Ecuador, including the biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon rainforest and the Andes Mountains.

The nine-city tour of Italy is intended to enhance appreciation of the richness found in the history, arts, land and people of Italy, with a special emphasis given to the art produced during Medieval and Renaissance periods in the country. The tour will include stops at the Colosseum, Roman Forum, catacombs, Pompeii, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Duomo, St. Mark’s Square and the Trevi Fountain.

Students touring Greece and Turkey will explore the history and cultures of the civilizations that border the Aegean Sea, giving special interest to Athens, Istanbul, Delphi, Greek islands and Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

One group of students will embark on a panoramic European study of Iceland, the Netherlands and France. Stops in Iceland will feature Reykjavik, geysers, cascades and volcanoes before moving on to Amsterdam and several points of interest in France, including Dijon, Avignon and Paris.

A second study tour will make its way to Paris, but instead begin in Rome and focus on early church and Renaissance history and its effect on our culture today. From Rome, students will travel south to Pompeii and make stops in Assisi, Florence and Mediterranean beaches.

Students traveling to Israel and Jordan will visit ruined Roman cities, Crusader castles and desert citadels. Also featured will be biblical sites like Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the brook where Jesus was baptized, the fortress where Herod beheaded John the Baptist, and the mountaintop where Moses cast eyes on the Promised Land.

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