NU Alumni Association Organizes Post-Graduation European Trip

Emmy Parsons

By Emmy ParsonsContributing Writer

College offers students countless opportunities to work and study abroad. But for the first time, graduating seniors have the opportunity to join their peers on a 21-day European tour.

“I think for many students this is will be one of their first big travel experiences,” said Abby Jansen, the assistant director for travel with the Northwestern Alumni Association.

The tour starts in London and ends in Rome, with stops in seven countries. Students have the option of adding a four-day trip to Greece.

They can watch a traditional cabaret show in Paris, go white-water rafting in Austria or take a gondola ride in Venice.

Participants will stay in high-end hotels ranging between four and five stars, said David Moayad, director of Orion Worldwide Travel, the travel agency hired for the trip.

“I’ve never been to Europe, so for someone like me it’s a really great chance to see a lot of countries in not a lot of days,” said McCormick senior Mary Wehner, NU Class Alliance’s senior class co-chair.

The trip also provides the chance to travel for many students who did not have time during their years at NU to study abroad. As a member of the NU women’s varsity field hockey team, Weinberg senior Meghan Small had little time for travel during her time at NU.

“I definitely would have gone abroad if I could have, but it’s a full-year sport,” Small said.

For others who might have visited Europe several times, the tour has its own appeal.

“I’ve never been to Germany or Austria, and I thought it’d be a good opportunity to go,” Weinberg senior Nisha Joseph said.

She also said she was surprised by the highly-organized and “high-class” nature of the trip.

Preparations for the trip began last spring, when the NU Alumni Association started researching several travel companies. It settled on Orion, an agency that serves more than 100 colleges in the United States.

Next year, college tours are expected to depart from the U.S. nearly every day between May 5 and July 3, Moayad said.

“It’s become a very successful project,” Moayad said, adding that most tours sell out.

It is difficult to determine NU’s response, as this is the first year for the tour. So far, student reaction has been enthusiastic, Wehner said, but the challenge will be to reach the entire senior class.

Jansen said she would love for about 30 students sign up for the trip. But she said she knew seniors did not have much time to prepare for committing to the trip.

“We’re not really sure what this year will bring for us, but this is going to be a long-haul project,” Jansen said.

The trip costs $2,650, which does not include airfare. The tour of Greece is an additional $530. Interested seniors can find more information on the Alumni Association Web site.

Reach Emmy Parsons at [email protected]