Skip to main content

Previous Trips

Honors College students and faculty have taken many learning abroad and learning away trips in recent years, including to Virginia, Istanbul, Milledgeville, Athens, and more. Check out the Global Engagement Gallery for pictures of some of our recent adventures.

Browse some of the previous Honors College trips:

A Greek Odyssey; Summer 2022

Students immersed themselves in the physical and intellectual heritage of ancient Greece and the imperial Byzantine civilization that succeeded it. Students and staff traveled to multiple cities—some large, some small—throughout Greece, visiting important museums, archaeological sites, and other significant destinations. By exploring a number of sites throughout the country, from Crete and the Cycladic islands to the major sites of the Peloponnese and central Greece, students endeavored to balance a broad view of the layers of history and culture (pre-Greek, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and beyond) in these regions with the nuts and bolts of ancient daily life, emphasizing such topics as ancient Greek religion, mythology, the ancient economy, travel, and the many ways in which the geography and climate of Greece shaped ancient cultural attitudes and practices.


Medical Ethics and Humanitarian Aid: Service-Learning in Jordan; Summer 2022

In Summer 2022, the Honors College returned to Jordan to see how humanitarian aid workers have been addressing the Syrian refugee crisis. This unique service-abroad opportunity immersed students in the purpose, mission, and workings of a large-scale humanitarian healthcare agency aiding refugee populations fleeing from war and violence.

Students committed to five weeks of service at the Jordan Health Aid Society international (JHASi) in Amman, Jordan. In addition to their service work at Za'atari Camp, they also conceptualized a "green clinic" initiative for a primary care facility in the Jordan Valley. Finally, after months of preparation, the students presented their critical research findings on Climate Change and Health at the international conference they helped plan, from concept to launch. Their contributions were recognized by the Ministry of Health, the UNFPA, and JHASi. Weekend and cultural excursions included Petra, the Dead Sea, Jarash, Ajloun Castle, Wadi Mujib, Wadi Rum, Aqaba, the Roman Ampitheatre, the Citadel, and more. Students also had the opportunity to study and practice Survival Arabic with faculty from the School for International Training – Jordan, as well as the host families with whom they stayed.


Historic Philadelphia; Spring 2022

This program introduced students to historic Philadelphia, from the time of William Penn and colonial Pennsylvania, through Benjamin Franklin and the Revolutionary War period, to Independence Hall, the drafting of the federal Constitution and the first national capital. On walking tours and site visits, students learned how Philadelphia represented a unique colonial experience leading into the revolutionary era, when the birth of the nation occurred, with the documents drafted in Independence Hall (first, the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and the Constitution in 1787), in addition to serving as the national capital and home to the Washington and Adams Administrations. 

Over the course of four days during spring break, participants visited major historical sites: Benjamin Franklin's home, Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, American Revolutionary War Museum, National Constitution Center, President’s House, American Anti-Slavery Society, Underground Railroad Museum, and National Bank. They also took excursions to contemporary art institutions that highlighted the modern cultural vibrance of Philadelphia (Barnes Foundation, Rodin Museum, and the Philadelphia MOA). Educational and research opportunities occurred via special trips to the American Philosophical Society (the oldest academic society in America) and the Franklin Institute (science, technology, engineering, and applied mathematics). 

Boston: Early American History; Spring 2022

Boston is a great historic city, and one that ties into this semester's HON 4390, “Antiquity Revisited,” the assigned readings of which have a number of connections in Boston and the course's semester theme, “Know Thyself." This trip covered three areas—Downtown and North End Boston (the Freedom Trail), Back Bay and the Fine Arts Museum, and Harvard Square in Cambridge. The trip involved excursions connected both to Boston’s role in early American history and as a center of American intellectual life. Students also visited two of Boston’s outstanding collections of ancient artifacts (at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East) and considered the way that ancient civilizations have been reinterpreted in the context of American history. Students in HON 4390 read the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Benjamin Franklin, and the trip included experiential learning components connected to each of these writers. 

Washington, DC: Visual Rhetoric and the Principles of Our Political Architecture; Spring 2020

The city of Washington, D.C., has always been a destination for American tourists. But the city offers more than the usual tourist attractions. From its disputed beginnings to the present, Washington stands as the Capital of our nation and the Symbol of our national identity. Landscape and architecture form the physical setting and home for political institutions and offices, but the National Mall, Monuments, and Memorials also embody a vision of our nation and its political principles, a vision that has evolved over time. Washington is not only the vibrant center of our national politics, but a sourcebook for the study of the formation and evolution of American political principles. The purpose of this study away trip was to introduce students to the visual rhetoric of the National Mall and Monuments. The Capitol, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, White House, and Jefferson Monument — together with war memorials, monuments to individuals, and federal buildings — are engaged in a great conversation regarding the development of the principles of American government. Washington, D.C., as our national city, literally embodies in its landscape how we as a people have defined and dedicated ourselves from the Founding until today. 

Something Old and Something New in Scotland and Wales: Honors Engineering Program Abroad; Spring 2020

This program exemplified the concept of "learning beyond the hedgerows"! Students witnessed in person the real-world application of what they studied in their engineering classes at UH, while also learning about the United Kingdom's rich engineering history. The travelers took in the air at the Devil's Bridge Falls, examined up close the structural grandeur of the Avon Aqueduct, and went underground and explored the National Show Caves Wales—nature's own engineering marvel. Students participating in this immersive, experiential learning opportunity gained a new perspective on what it means to be an engineer.

Artists and Their Regions: Alexandria, Cairo, & Luxor, Egypt; Winter 2020

During the Fall 2019 semester, students studied the art, architecture, and literature of ancient Egypt, one of the world’s oldest civilizations, and one of a handful of places where writing was independently invented. They took a special interest in the way that the unique geography of the Nile River valley shaped the religion and history of Egypt, and in the enduring meaning of ancient history for 100 million Egyptians today. In January 2020, the group traveled to Egypt to visit its many antiquities, from the pyramids of the Giza Plateau to the sprawling temples at Luxor, from the Egyptian Museum in the heart of Cairo to the technicolor tombs in the Valley of the Kings. 

Turkey and Tunisia: Ancient Civilizations and Arab Uprisings; Fall 2019

During the 2019 Thanksgiving break, the Honors College traveled to the land of Ancient Carthage, visiting the remains of Byrsa, and taking in the country's history at the Bardo National Museum. Students and faculty performed at the Amphitheatre of El Jem, then made their way down Avenue Habib Bourguiba for some fresh food and even fresher political discourse with locals. Whether you're a history buff, an adventurer, or a culture aficionado, this trip had something for everyone!  

Creative Cities: Houston and Austin, TX; Fall 2019

Part academic, part experiential, this core Creative Work class studied innovative American cities as landscapes of the mind and the imagination. Including but not limited to aesthetic concerns, the trip and related course investigated creativity in the broadest sense of the word. Thus, participants were interested in the featured cities as sources and sites of creativity not only in literature, music, the visual arts, but also architecture, urban planning, transportation, the culinary arts, business culture, industry, redevelopment, etc. Creative Cities was associated with the course of the same name (HON 3397).

Medical Ethics and Humanitarian Aid: Service-Learning in Jordan; Summer 2019

In Summer 2019, the Honors College traveled to Jordan to see how humanitarian aid workers are addressing the Syrian refugee crisis. This unique service-abroad opportunity immersed students in the purpose, mission, and workings of a large-scale humanitarian healthcare agency aiding refugee populations fleeing from war and violence.

Students committed to four weeks of service at the Jordan Health Aid Society international (JHASi) in Amman, Jordan. Weekend and cultural excursions included Petra, the Dead Sea, Jarash, Ajloun Castle, Madaba, the Roman Ampitheatre, the Citadel, local cooking classes, and more. Students also had the opportunity to study and practice Survival Arabic with faculty from the School for International Training – Jordan, as well as the host families with whom they stayed.  


Barcelona, Spain; Summer 2019

This nine-day cultural trip to Spain included the onsite study and discussion of important historical and cultural sites—from antiquity to our own times; visits to major museums, churches, and galleries; in-depth urban explorations of Barcelona, and excursions to Montserrat and the Costa Brava. Students learned about and experienced first-hand the history, cuisine, art, and modernista architecture of Catalan culture. Students also discovered renowned works of art and places associated with the intellectual, cultural, and artistic heritage of ancient, medieval, and modern Mediterranean civilizations. 

Artists and Their Regions: Finding Pittsburgh; Summer 2019

In this Artists in Their Regions course, students studied various artists and art-making located in the iconic city of Pittsburgh. From the pop art of Andy Warhol to the dramatic plays of August Wilson, the music of Art Blakey, and the literary novels of Michael Chabon, they explored a wide range of creative activity that encapsulates the profound transformation of Pittsburgh from an industrial mecca to a city that honors yet transcends its historical roots. The course culminated in a trip to Pittsburgh to conduct field research and to work on creative projects that were inspired by, and in conversation with, the Steel City.

Chicago: A Cultural Excursion, Summer 2019

In Summer 2019, Honors College students and faculty partook in a “live local” excursion to fabulous Chicago. This trip was a no frills, on-the-ground, walking-intensive tour of the City of Big Shoulders, Chi-town, the Windy City. The group saw amazing art and architecture, and ate delicious food while taking in a show. They checked out the local universities, walked the streets, rode the elevated train, and slept in a hostel. Best of all, they heard great music and ate deep-dish pizza. The group also visited the world-renowned Chicago Institute of Art, several theaters, Wrigley Field for a Cubs’ game, and the zoo, and toured a city that boasts one of the greatest collections of architectural wonders in the world.

Virginia: The Early American Republic; Spring 2019

During spring break (March 2019), Dr. Bailey and Dr. Gish led a group of UH students to Virginia to examine the foundations of the early American Republic. Students visited (and spent their evenings in the residential facilities at) James Madison’s Montpelier, which is also home to the Smith Center for the Constitution. Excursions were made to the most famous house in the nation, Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson in the hills outside Charlottesville, as well as to the nearby residence of James Monroe, at Highland, and to Jefferson’s University of Virginia. Through seminar discussions and onsite guided walks with local scholars, students learned about the political history of the American founding and the complex lives of these American statesmen, their families, and the enslaved communities associated with their residences.

Alexandria, Cairo, & Luxor, Egypt; Fall 2018

In fall 2018, Honors College students and faculty discovered the pyramids of Giza, navigated the desert of Dashur, and explored the various cultural wonders of Egypt’s capital city of Cairo, before visiting the famous Library of Alexandria. In Luxor, the group took in a bird's-eye-view of the Valley of the Kings while soaring through the sunlight sky in a hot air balloon, uncovered the secrets of the Temple of Hatshepsut, and analyzed the ancient hieroglyphs of the Karnak and Luxor Temples.


Greece & Israel; Summer 2018

Honors College students and faculty embarked on a Mediterranean adventure the in summer 2018. After spending three days traversing the ruins of Ancient Greece, the team went on to Israel, where they conquered the face of the Cliff Arbel, enjoyed St. Peter's fish from the Sea of Galilee, and took in the sea air in beautiful Haifa and Dor. 


Moscow & St. Petersburg, Russia; Summer 2017

In 2017, Honors College faculty, staff, and students traveled to the land of the White Night and all the borsch one can possibly hope to eat. Our travelers journeyed through time to Novgorod the Great, one of Russia's oldest and most important cites; celebrated the grace of the Russian ballet in Moscow; and revelled in the beauty of the Hermitage Museum—Russia's one-time Winter Palace—in St. Petersburg. 


Greek Isles; Summer 2016

This tour began in Athens, tracing major sites in mainland Greece and the Peloponnese for the first eight days, then continued with a four-day cruise that had ports of call in Mykonos, Kusadasi (Ephesus), Patmos, Rhodes, Crete, and Santorini. The students by the end of the tour had an excellent knowledge of many of the major sites in Greece, with the added bonus of having experienced the islands and coast of Asia Minor by sea, just as the Greeks have for millennia.

Northern UK: Scotland & York; Summer 2015

In summer 2015, Honors College students and faculty embarked on a journey by foot along the Great Glen Way near Drumnadrochit, home of the famous Loch Ness; sojourned along London's historic River Thames; enjoyed a traditional meal on the Royal Mile; and discovered Durham Castle, the structure that allegedly inspired Harry Potter's Hogwarts. All this, and they still had time for Betty's Traditional Afternoon Tea!


Great Britain & Ireland; Summer 2013

In summer 2013, Honors College students and faculty walked Bath’s Roman ruins, hiked the craggy heights of the Aran Islands, discussed Yeats in his homeland, and traipsed the winding streets of Galway and Wales—all while enjoying the delights of British cuisine.