BIC study abroad program given green light to make plans for summer amid COVID-19

BIC students sic 'em in Cyprus. Courtesy of Baylor Interdisciplinary Core.

By Sukhi Borse | Reporter

Last week, Baylor Bears Abroad confirmed that the planning process for the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core’s trip to Greece and Turkey will move forward. The trip will be led in the summer one session, May 28 to June 22, by professors Dr. Jason Whitlark and Dr. Scott Moore.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, many students and faculty wondered if the trip would be able to proceed. There have been a total of 154,083 confirmed coronavirus cases in Greece and 2,449,839 in Turkey since the beginning of the pandemic.

Moore, a program director veteran and Great Texts professor, said BIC had “been given the green light by the university” to carry out planning for the trip.

“We are looking forward to making plans and taking a new group of students to engage in all the unique experiences offered,” Moore said.

If travel restrictions are lifted, students will have the opportunity to explore and learn the history of Athens, come face-to-face with the place where Socrates gave his famous apology, roam the streets of Istanbul and wake up to the sight of Hagia Sophia.

These places are a mere snapshot of all this program has to offer. The itinerary for this year also adds the Greek island of Crete to the list of destinations.

“There is just so much to do there. The entire trip is an immersive learning experience,” Moore said. “I just want the students to gain a sense of the world outside of America. There are days we’ll be in a hotel conducting regular class, but for the most part I’m giving a lesson while on the move.”

While planning for the trip has been allowed to move forward, there are still many questions to be answered concerning COVID-19.

“Our priority is the students’ safety first and foremost,” Moore stated. “While we have been told that we can make plans for this trip, we understand that the world is unpredictable, and we will adjust accordingly.”

The program’s courses focus on the fields of philosophy, Great Texts and select BIC curriculum. For those who are interested in learning more about the trip, the application is currently open at Bears Abroad.

Chicago junior Natalie Ciaccio attended the program in the summer of 2019. She said she was thrilled to hear that this trip would once again be offered this year.

“For anyone who is planning on going on this trip, step outside of your comfort zone,” Ciaccio said. “Leave your presumptions about the world back at home and experience the people and the places in real time.”

As with most study abroad opportunities, much of what is unique about this trip is being able to visit historic monuments and indulge in a culture that is different from one’s own.

Littleton, Colo., junior Xixi Brinkhuis said she is excited about the prospects of applying to this program.

“I have been to Europe before, but I have never been to Greece,” Brinkhuis said. “Let the adventure begin.”

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the trip was approved for the summer. It has since been updated to say that the planning for the trip was given a green light.