College Opens Spring Break 2013 European Tour to Community

March 2 through 12 Trip Highlighting London, Paris and Amsterdam

April 20, 2012

The colorful town of Sneem, Ireland was a visual highlight of the 2012 spring break trip. (Photo courtesy of Jim FitzSimmons)

The colorful town of Sneem, Ireland was a visual highlight of the 2012 spring break trip. (Photo courtesy of Jim FitzSimmons)

While Buckingham Palace, quaint villages in Wales and Ireland’s 100 hues of green experienced in March are but a pleasant memory for 51 Wilmington College students, faculty and alumni — and local community members, Wilmington College’s Vinton Prince is already making plans for spring break 2013.

Members of the community are invited to participate in a customized tour of Amsterdam, Paris and London March 2 to 12. Enrolling by the end of April offers a $150 incentive.

Prince, professor of history, has led spring break trips to Europe eight times since 2003. His excursions have typically had a critical mass of students along with College faculty and staff, alumni, students’ family members and other members of the community that enjoy international travel.

“This year’s trip featured an especially diverse group of travelers,” he said. “They interacted well with our students and vice versa.”

Prince, who specializes in British and European history, convinced EF Tours to offer a customized itinerary of the great capitals of London, Paris and Amsterdam that has a desirable mix of formally guided tours and free time to explore.

“It has a lot of the usual sites — the Eiffel Tower, Amsterdam’s canals, Westminster Abbey — but we’ve been given a lot more freedom of movement to visit the nearby places of our choosing,” he said, noting that England’s Stonehenge and Paris’ Latin Quarter are included along with a free day to explore Amsterdam.

Prince said the tours not only provide students with opportunities to visit great locales, but they also tend to give them the confidence to be more independent — they can navigate public transportation and explore beyond the confines of typical guided tours.

“I always enjoy when students discover they can do a lot on their own,” he added.

Indeed, WC junior Josh Kincaid, one of the travelers on Prince’s 2012 trip to England, Wales, Ireland and Paris, said the tour provided him a somewhat liberating experience as far as being in a foreign land.

“Traveling abroad seemed intimidating at first, but, upon reflection, I can see myself going back again and not necessarily as part of a large, guided tour,” he said. “I would feel comfortable roaming the grassy plains of Ireland with an unguided, smaller group of friends.”

WC alumnus Linda Olinger, a retired teacher, and her husband especially enjoyed Ireland.

“The people were so friendly and loved having us there,” she said, noting that, after a night in an Irish pub with the locals, the couple was already eager for their return to the Emerald Isle.

WC senior Steve Fout said traveling from Ireland to Paris “was a cultural dream come true” for him.

“I chatted with members of a fox hunting club in Ireland and stormed a castle by moonlight in Wales,” he said. “I was smiled at by smart girls in Oxford and got to see the courts at Wimbledon. I walked the banks of the river Seine and rose up the tower at night to see the lights of Paris before me.

“It was truly worth every penny.”

Prince isn’t the only one leading tours. Women’s basketball coach Jerry Scheve is taking his team to China in May and Jeff Stahley, associate professor of Spanish, is leading a group of students to spend more than a month in Colombia.

Tom Stilwell, associate professor of agriculture, is organizing a spring break 2013 tour to Peru with a focus upon “Agriculture of the Incas.” His tour is open to non-students with an understanding that participants will be spending a great deal of time in the thin air of the Andes.

Those interested in the tour of Peru can contact Stilwell at the College at (937) 382-6661 ext. 366, while more information on Prince’s excursion to London, Paris and Amsterdam is available by contacting him at ext. 388.