The FOCRLS Student Travel Fellowship Program has recently awarded $9,000 of Travel Fellowship grants to support seven students, six who are traveling to Turkey in April, and one who is heading to Panama for the January Panama Jazz Festival. This fellowship program provides cash grants to academically-qualified students from low-income families to help cover the costs of educational travel programs.
High school trips to distant locations give students a first-hand opportunity to become immersed in the people, language, cities, landscapes, sights, sounds, smells and tastes of another culture. These trips can heighten cultural awareness, break down stereotypes and create lasting friendships, both among CRLS travelers and with their foreign hosts. And of course the trips incorporate a strong academic component. Those awarded fellowships are asked to keep a written and photographic journal of their activities.
The CRLS trip to Turkey will be a 9-day visit to a land that is rich in cultural and geographical significance. The 20 students who are expected to participate will visit ancient buildings and ruins, such as the Hagia Sophia Church and Museum in Istanbul that dates from 500 AD, and the ancient Greek ruins in the city of Izmir. The students and their faculty chaperones will immerse themselves in the culture, staying two nights in the homes of Turkish families. This interaction with the culture is a crucial piece of the students’ education because of the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of Arab and Muslim peoples.
The Panama Jazz Festival is a prestigious event that brings together jazz greats from around the world who will share their knowledge with the members of the CRLS World Jazz Ensemble who will attend, a “once in a lifetime experience” according to the FOCRLS travel grant recipient. By day, the CRLS students will be in classes taught by faculty from Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, and Princeton University. By night, they will get to “play and jam out with people from Panama and around the world,” making friends and enhancing their skills.
Read the Cambridge Chronicle article here.