Friday, October 19th, 2018

Tourism program takes learning outside the classroom

Posted on September 14, 2015 in News, Politics on Campus, The Reorganization
By USM Free Press

By Erica Jones/Contributor

Learning in an environment outside the classroom can be a rewarding experience. Through hands-on practice and observation, many students find that their time in programs such as internships and off-site trips supply valuable knowledge that common college course formats, such as online or in a classroom, cannot offer.

Last May, eighteen students in the Tourism and Hospitality program hosted a cruise to Bermuda. The cruise was a collaborative effort between USM, AAA of Northern New England, and Holland America.

As reported in the Portland Press Herald, the trip was primarily funded by private donations, which allowed students to pay less to embark on the trip. The program was envisioned and headed by the Chair of the Tourism and Hospitality department, Tracy Michaud Stutzman.

The itinerary for the cruise’s four-day stay in Bermuda was selected by interns in the Tourism and Hospitality program, a driven group of students that included USM seniors Jenna Rossnagel and Haylee Munson, who interned with AAA last spring.

“Opportunities like the internship with AAA and the cruise class allowed me to fuel my passion for the tourism industry,” said Munson.

Michaud-Stutzman commented that the cruise allowed students to “apply their knowledge and have an unprecedented learning experience in the ‘real world.’

Last month, USM, Holland America, and AAA of Northern New England hosted a fundraiser luncheon that’s success ensured the cruise program’s continuity for at least one more year, according to the Portland Press Herald.

“This year we are working more closely with locals on Bermuda to create an even more engaged itinerary of the Island,” Michaud-Stutzman explained.

“Also, we really hope to have more than just Tourism and Hospitality students taking the class,” said Michaud-Stutzman.

Students interested in broadening their horizons through travel and incomparable experience should apply for an internship position with AAA or sign up for the class, TAH (Tourism and Hospitality) 307. This year’s cruise departs from Boston on May 21, 2016.

“Being part of this program exposed us to several aspects of the Tourism and Hospitality industry that we can further pursue in the state of Maine,” said Rossnagel on the success of the cruise, “whether that is through a local company or starting our very own company in the future.”

And with Maine being the popular tourist destination that it is, the stability and future of the state’s economy–particularly Portland’s economy–rests in the hands of talented young people like these students.

“Students who travel outside Maine can bring back new ideas and innovation,” said Michaud-Stutzman. “This perspective will benefit Maine and Portland as these students contribute to growing and managing tourism here so that we retain what makes this place so attractive in the first place.”

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