What dates will the Spring 2018 Place Studies course be in Ireland?
According to the current draft of our itinerary, the Spring 2018 Place Studies course will include a Spring Recess trip to Ireland that leaves on Wed., March 7, 2018, and returns on Sun., March 18, 2018. Please note: these dates will require students to miss a few scheduled class meetings leading up to the Spring Recess.

Where will we go in Ireland? What will we see? What will we do?
The upcoming Place Studies course will introduce students to the various visions and versions of Ireland that have been shaped by its earliest ancient settlements and modern political conflicts, divided by regional and religious differences, and represented through art, literature, and popular culture. The Spring Recess trip will take us from the modern capital of Dublin in the south to Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, in the north; in between we will visit the Stone Age tombs of the Boyne Valley and rural Inniskeen, known as “Kavanagh Country” for its native-son writer Patrick Kavanagh, and spend the night in the nearby 19th-c. Cabra Castle. The trip will take us to the northernmost coast to visit the Giant’s Causeway and to the foot of Benbulbin in County Sligo, the home of Yeats’s Lake Isle of Innisfree, among other weirdly wonderful features of the Irish landscape that have inspired so many poets, painters, photographers, and travel bureaus. In the West Country, we will tour Connemara National Park and even ferry over to the Aran Islands during our two-night stay in Galway City. We will travel through the Burren to Coole Park and the Cliffs of Moher on our way to Limerick, which was visited by St. Patrick in 434 CE—and whose holiday on March 17 coincides with our last night in Ireland.

A course syllabus and schedule of assignments is forthcoming. For a look at a draft of the proposed itinerary for the Spring 2018 trip to Ireland, CLICK HERE

What day and time is the course typically scheduled?
The Place Studies course is a once-a-week evening course that runs on Tuesday nights from 6:15 to 9:30 p.m..

How much will the trip cost, and what does it include?
As of May 2017, the itinerary is currently being bid on by several student-travel agencies. Our typical per-person price-point over the past several trips has been in the neighborhood of $3,200, which includes roundtrip airfare, double-occupancy hotel accommodations, morning meals, entrance fees for museums, etc., and all in-trip travel and transportation costs. As of now, the cost of the trip to Ireland looks to be approximately $3000 per person.

How many people are going on this trip, and how can I reserve a spot on the trip prior to registering for the course?
Space is limited in both the classroom and on the trip. (As of May 2017, caps have not been set for either the course or the trip.) Place Studies is primarily a classroom course taught by full-time professors and sustained by students who are taking it for college credit; consequently, any students enrolled in the course for college credit will receive preferential placement among the current list of students interested in the trip. Students who only wish to audit the course (see below) will be placed on a wait-list and notified prior to the start of the Spring 2018 semester regarding their spot on the trip.

Any students interested in the Spring 2018 trip to Ireland may reserve a place prior to the Fall 2017 registration period by submitting a $100 down payment to the Bursar’s Office, which may be made with cash, check or credit card in person or over the phone. The list of students who submit early down payments will be used by Profs. Stamps and Lutz to gauge overall in interest in the trip and establish caps for the course and trip; the number of interested students will then be forwarded to our list of student-travel agencies in order to calculate the per-person cost of the trip, which varies according to increments of five or ten travelers. Please note: all down payments will be refunded or applied to the total cost of the trip; likewise, a down payment does not obligate a student to register for the course or guarantee anyone a spot on the trip.

How much will the trip cost, and when are the payment installments due?
The total cost of the trip will be approximately $3000 per person. All payments must be made directly to the Office of the Bursar according to the following timetable:

Due Dates Payments Payment Checklist Amount
ASAP Initial Down Payment   $100.00
Sept. 29 Installment 1   $725.00
Oct. 27 Installment 2   $725.00
Nov. 27 Installment 3   $725.00
Dec. 29 Installment 4   $725.00
    Total $3000.00

If I change my mind about the trip, or if something comes up, will my money be refunded?
The closer we get to the 100-day deadline (the 100 days before we leave on the trip), the more committed we become to securing hotel accommodations and airfare. That is, the closer we get to the trip, the more money has to paid to the travel agency and airline to guarantee or rooms and tickets. Likewise, the per-person cost of the trip has been calculated according to the total number of travelers; when students back out of the trip after the per-person cost has been calculated, it is possible that that per-person cost to go up. It is for these reasons that providing refunds becomes increasingly difficult, if not impossible after certain dates and deadlines.
Students requesting refunds must submit an email request to Prof. Stamps according to the following deadlines (and according to the percentage of the student’s current down payment total). The request will be forwarded to the Bursar’s Office, together with a check request in the student’s name.

Deadlines and Percentages for Refund Requests
Last day to request a full 100% refund Nov. 1, 2017
Last day to request a 50% refund Dec. 1, 2017
Last day to request a 25% refund; no refunds after this date Dec. 15, 2017

Can I substitute the Place Studies course for the required core curriculum course, EN-2028 (Intro to Lit)?
Yes. Because Place Studies is primarily a course devoted to reading, interpreting, and writing about literary texts, this course may be substituted for EN-2028, Introduction to Literature. See the Chair of the English department, Linda Maisel, regarding any questions or necessary paperwork.

Can I audit the course and go on the trip?
Because Place Studies students receive in-class instruction as a coherent unit, and travel abroad for ten-plus days together as a coherent unit, and return to the classroom to share their experiences as a coherent unit, it is vital to the overall educational experience that the classroom and trip consist mainly of students and campus community members who are enrolled in the course for college credit and/or committed to the full, semester-long academic expectations of the course, including weekly reading and writing assignments, consistent attendance and in-class participation, and an active commitment to group projects and presentations.

There will be a limited number of spaces in the course and on the trip for students and members of the DelVal campus community who are interested in the trip but do not want or need to take the course for credit. This restrictive number has yet to be determined. Students and campus community members who are interested in the trip, but plan to audit the course, may reserve a spot on the waiting list by submitting a down payment (see procedure described above).

Can Financial Aid assist with financing the trip?
The Office of Financial Aid at DelVal will assist students in applying for federal Parent-PLUS loans or Private Education loans, depending on their academic status as it relates to this course at the time of registration. Students who are registering for Place Studies as an approved course substitute for EN-2028, Introduction to Lit, are eligible to apply for either type of loan cited above, whereby the cost of the trip may be added to new or current financial aid loans. Students who are enrolling in the course as an “excessive elective” — that is, an additional course not to meet graduation requirements — will only qualify for the Private Education loans with a qualified cosigner.   www.delval.edu/finaid/finance for information. 

Each student’s academic and financial circumstances are unique as it relates to the Place Studies course. For a clear, student-specific assessment of how Financial Aid might assist in financing the trip, please contact Joan Hock, Director of Financial Aid (Joan.Hock@delval.edu; 215.489.2975).

Can students organize on-campus fundraisers to help defray some of the trip’s cost?
Yes. In advance of previous trips students have managed to raise some money through raffles and other on-campus fundraising efforts. While every bit helps defray the overall cost of the trip for the students involved in the fundraising (e.g., $100 per person), students should not depend on these activities to fund more than a small percentage of total cost of the trip.

Are there other resources or opportunities that might help defray some of the trip’s cost?
Yes. Several local restaurants offer Dine and Donate sponsorships (e.g., New Britain Inn, Chipotle, Wendy’s, UNO’s, etc.), which are relatively easy to organize and promote. Students may also want to seek out scholarships for student travel offered by Irish-American organizations, or self-promote via GoFundMe.

Other questions? 
Please forward them along to Prof. Michael Stamps at michael.stamps@delval.edu or Prof. Brian Lutz at Brian.Lutz@delval.edu.