Study Abroad, Alumni Style

WAA’s Ecuador tour offers first immersion experience.

Woman with flowers. Photo: Danita Delimont/Alamy

Photo: Danita Delimont/Alamy

Have you ever wanted to learn Spanish, but never had the time? Now is your chance — WAA is offering a four-week introduction to living abroad in Cuenca (kwain-ka), Ecuador, that will include daily one-on-one tutoring in the language. “It’s almost like study-abroad for adults,” says Sheri Hicks, WAA’s travel director. “It’s a great chance for Badgers to immerse themselves in the culture, cuisine, and language of the country.” The inaugural Cuenca trip is scheduled for January 29 to February 28.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Cuenca is a beautiful colonial town set in the heart of the Andes Mountains. Travelers will experience this top retirement haven as if they were locals living an authentic Ecuadorean lifestyle. They’ll also attend the Simon Bolivar Spanish School and learn about the country’s history, music, art, and politics.

Similar immersion experiences in France, Spain, and Italy are under consideration.

Along with Cuenca, WAA offers more than forty trips each year to destinations around the world. According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, it’s not just exotic locales that attract alumni travelers — it’s also the bonding that occurs due to similar educational and social backgrounds. Future Cuenca traveler John Strebel ’72 agrees. “I haven’t traveled internationally before, and the alumni group appealed to me for socializing,” he says.

Sandy Kampen also cites camaraderie as the reason she travels with WAA — to the tune of thirty-three athletic trips over the past few decades. “I value the wonderful friendships I’ve made meeting people on my travels,” she says. “Many of the same people travel with WAA, so you get to know everyone pretty well, and many of us get together during the off-season, too.”

Other upcoming alumni trips include Tunisia, where travelers will see the underground troglodyte village used in the original Star Wars movie; travel by private jet to destinations such as St. Kitts and Tahiti; and tours to see the Masters golf tournament, the Kentucky Derby, and the Daytona 500.

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Published in the Winter 2010 issue


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