Blending the pleasure of travel with the joy of learning is at the heart of the Tufts Travel Learn Program. Its carefully crafted trip itineraries mirror the life-long learning mission of the University, add a global perspective, and through participation of carefully chosen faculty, infuse intellectual elements and a powerful connection to the University. Alumni, family, and friends are all eligible to participate, providing a wonderful opportunity to connect and reconnect individuals across the University’s constituents.
Each trip is designed by leading travel partners and enhanced by a tour director and local guides, who effectively handle all travel logistics and bring the destination’s landmarks to life in a memorable and enriching way. In addition, a significant role is played by an attending faculty member, who brings renowned expertise, sociability, and knowledge about Tufts today, including recent University developments.
Our faculty assists the tour operators, mix and mingle with travelers, accompanying them on excursions, activities, receptions, and meals, as well as provide lecture presentations and commentaries throughout the trip’s duration. They are instrumental in creating camaraderie among travelers, who initially may not know each other.
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine faculty Drs. Flo Tseng, Mark Pokras, Christopher Whittier, and Felicia Nutter have all been honored to serve as faculty hosts for Tufts Travel and Learn. Faculty members draw from their respective field experience and research to help enrich the travel experience for travelers.
Dr. Whittier and participants of the Africa’s Wildlife trip in 2014
For Dr. Whittier, an experienced international traveler and veterinary researcher, his participation on the Africa’s Wildlife 2014 trip was not his first foray in Africa. He brought with him a long history of previous travel across the continent, coupled with his own enthusiasm to explore new places. Personally for Dr. Whittier and equally so for the lucky Tufts travelers, a river canoe excursion proved not only to be a beautiful, serene and unique way to partake of the African wildlife, but it also allowed for him and his traveling companions to spot the sleek figure of the elusive leopard, which can be a difficult sight to experience. Professionally, he was pleased to share his knowledge of wildlife and conservation issues with the group. And with a large contingent of the travelers from the medical profession, it provided a good foundation for in depth conversation about the intersection of human and veterinary medicine, not to mention lasting friendships. “He is a joy to travel with — personable, knowledgeable, and helpful. His talks were wonderful and really enriched the experience,” recalled a participant on the Africa’s Wildlife trip. The other travelers echoed similar sentiments.
More than two dozen trips are planned this year and include, travel to a number of international and domestic destinations, including, Alaska, Iceland, Cruising through the Panama Canal & Costa Rica, Australia and New Zealand, Spain and Portugal, and Africa’s Wildlife. A full list of destinations can be found here.
The unique combination of travel with such a strong educational focus has provided opportunities for many Tufts’ alumni to expand their horizons while traveling to some of the world’s most impressive destinations. By the conclusion of the trip, it is not unusual to see participants have rekindled or forged new friendships that lead to them to eventually traveling together on subsequent trips. “We welcome alumni, family and friends from all schools across the university on our trips. With robust interest in our program, we now see travelers coming back, where a handful of travelers now have experienced ten trips since the program’s inception in 2001,” says Program Director Usha Nand Sellers, EdD.