James Voelker, Contributing Writer
Possibly one of the most important things that I have learned during my time here at the University of Dallas is the necessity of travel for education. In fact, I have learned that travel is a form of education. To be educated means more than having book knowledge. It means you have a higher understanding of who you are as a person spiritually, physically and mentally in addition to being well-read and well-studied. It means knowing about the world and where you and your academic studies fit into the big picture. This is something that cannot be taught in books; it is taught through experience.
I transferred to the University of Dallas solely for the purpose of experiencing the Rome program and pursuing my history degree in one of the most unique ways I had heard of. I had no campus visit, no in-depth analysis of the Core curriculum and no inquiry into the type of people here. I knew the best college education I could receive was one that thoughtfully paired classroom studies with travel in order to create a balanced and comprehensive educational experience that would prepare me for life, not just academia.
St. Augustine said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” A highly-respected scholar whose wisdom is taught extensively at UD, Augustine speaks to the message of this university: Travel completes education.
Even without the Rome program, education can be continued through travel outside of college. Even students here at UD who are unable to attend the Rome program still receive an education highly influenced by travel.
Prior to my transfer to UD, I had traveled to countries such as France, Israel, Jordan and Switzerland, and had even lived in Kenya for a semester. Although I was not simultaneously pursuing an academic education while on these travels, the lessons I learned have contributed to my personal growth both spiritually and mentally, while also giving me an appreciation for the opportunity to pursue a higher education.
Travel, like academic education, is an opportunity to challenge yourself, test yourself and find out what your strengths are. It is imperative to take advantage of every opportunity to travel as a means to further personal edification, and we are blessed to attend a university that not only encourages this, but also makes it extremely accessible to do so.