GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – A group of 10 students and two faculty members from Tusculum College learned about how joining the European Union has affected Malta and about the nation’s history and culture in a recent trip to the Mediterranean country.
The students, who included business, political science and education majors, spent their spring break at Malta University. They were accompanied by Dr. Troy Goodale, assistant professor of political science, and Dr. Tom McFarland, professor of business administration. The group shared their experiences in a presentation to the Tusculum College community on April 11.
A typical day for the students included attending a lecture at the university during the morning and taking trips to business or historical sites in the afternoon.
One of those trips was to the Malta Experience, which is an audio-visual attraction in the capital city of Valletta that tells the history of the island nation from prehistoric times to the present and helped give the students a deeper understanding of the places they would be visiting and the country itself.
Among the historical sites they visited was the city of Mdina, the area where the apostle Paul stayed after the boat in which he was traveling shipwrecked on the island. “It was exciting to walk the same streets that Paul walked,” said Kirstie Gust, a senior from Rutledge, majoring in business administration with a concentration in accounting and management.
The students visited Attrans, a transportation company. “It was one of the more interesting places we visited said, Trey Whitfield. “One of the focuses of the trip was to learn about the European Union and how membership affects a member country. At Attrans we saw how joining the European Union has helped them to expand and grow.” Whitfield is a senior majoring in business administration with a concentration in accounting from Greeneville, Tenn.
The political workings and laws of the European Union were also explored by the students. Trevor Long, a sophomore majoring in political science from Atkins, Va., said that while the European Union’s political structure is similar to America’s with three branches, there are significant differences legally. “As a political science major, learning about international law will definitely help me in my studies in the future,” he said.
The U.S. Embassy in Malta was another interesting visit, the students said. There they learned about the embassy’s work in Malta, including how staff worked to help American citizens get out of Libya during the recent conflict, as well as how an individual can attain a position working in an embassy or international relations.
Lauren Taylor was the only education major on the trip. Taylor said she talked to the local people they would meet at places and ask them about their education system and was able to get an insight into it from their responses. Taylor is a senior from Kissimmee, Fla.
The group said that they found the people in Malta to be friendly and welcoming. Jill Corum, a junior from Knoxville majoring in business administration, said she did not know what to expect in regards to the reception the people would give the Tusculum students, but found them to be very friendly. A major benefit of traveling abroad is to be exposed to other cultures and people groups, she said.
Traveling and studying abroad can be life changing, agreed Bo Cordell, a junior majoring in business administration from Cincinnati, Ohio. “You can use what you learned for the rest of your life,” he said. “It changes you as a business person and gives you an international perspective.”
Gust said that the trip helped her to better realize how everyone is living in a global society. “As an accounting major, it will good to know how other systems operate. An international experience is also good as a talking point.” She added that she was able to talk about her Malta trip on a recent trip to the graduate school she will be attending.
The Malta trip is a first step in an effort to form a strong relationship with Malta University and provide Tusculum students with additional international study opportunities.
Last year, Tusculum hosted an international exhibit that displayed a photographic study of the Malta’s prehistoric temples and artifacts. Malta’s ambassador to the United States, Mark Miceli, visited campus during the exhibit and made a presentation to students about the nation’s history and its role in the European Union. The exhibit and trip to campus were coordinated through the assistance of Dr. Bruce Shine and his wife, Betsy. Shine, a 1960 graduate of Tusculum, has close ties with Malta through his years teaching at the International Maritime Law Institute.
Tusculum College, the oldest college in Tennessee and the 28th oldest in the nation, is a liberal arts institution committed to utilizing the civic arts in developing educated citizens distinguished by academic excellence, public service and qualities of Judeo-Christian character. Approximately twenty-two hundred students are enrolled on the main campus in Greeneville and three off-site locations in East Tennessee. The academic programs for both traditional-aged students and working adults served through the Graduate and Professional Studies program are delivered using focused calendars whereby students enroll in one course at a time.
Associate Director of College Communications
Tusculum College provides a liberal arts education in a Judeo-Christian and civic arts environment.