Scandinavia Trip

Information and registration is now open for the Scandinavia Trip in Spring of 2024.


The tour website

Andrew Havens, Staff Writer

Newly opened to PennWest California students is an opportunity to travel the world, but without the potentially pesky trials of studying abroad for semesters at a time. College tour group organization Education First has announced their next PennWest Cal trip, is a 10-day excursion to Scandinavia, complete with nighttime ferry rides, historical sites, tourism to major cities, and more. The nearly $5,000 price tag is steep to some, but a number of students see all the value.

Joseph Kutsenkow, 20 year old psychology major, has been all over the world, but this trip to Scandinavia, launching in 2024, is one that he’s very much looking forward to. After it was officially opened for enrollment, Kutsenkow hopped on board immediately. Seeing it posted on the daily announcements, he decided to travel solo with the tour group. He hopes to meet new PennWest Cal students as they travel, but mostly hopes to learn more about what he called “viking culture” as they roam.

“I am incredibly excited about this trip,” he said, “It has always been a dream of mine to visit these European countries, and to find out a trip to them was happening was unexpected. I think I’m most excited about visiting Norway.”

Kutsenkow has never been involved with Education First before, but knew that multiculturalism and travel would help him grow as a person, both in terms of creativity and empathy towards others. Always studious, he also mentioned the fact that he could use trips like these to his advantage.

“Traveling betters me as a person by helping me learn more about different cultures, which helps me understand different types of people better,” he said, “As a student, it really helps me learn more about the world, not to mention that it helps with creating ideas for writing assignments. I have a couple English essays that this could really prove useful for.”

The trip itself, which runs from March 1st to March 10th and includes stops in Finland, Sweden, and Norway, is headed up by Humanities Professor Sean Madden. As Director of the Global Studies program, Dr. Madden (or simply “Madden” when he’s on one of his many trips) is also extremely well-traveled, having been to a majority of the world’s continents. In his 30 year career coordinating with Education First, he says that he’s scarcely received a negative review from one of his students.

“I would say that I have received almost entirely positive reviews from students over the years,” he said, “I believe that each trip has its own identity and that the positive or negative experience results largely, based on how the group gels.”

Dr. Madden maintains that the importance of student travel is at an all time high, despite the world being more connected than ever.

“​As the world continues to shrink and become more accessible with social media, it remains critical that students come to know other cultures and countries,” Madden said, “One problem with social media awareness is that it lacks content.  You can watch a hundred videos about a rainforest, but it will never be the same, or really even close, to being there.”

Department of Criminal Justice and Psychology Assistant professor Dr. Beverly Ross would later chime in when asked about student responses to previous trips.

“Students absolutely love these trips,” she said, “More importantly though, they create once in a lifetime experiences. They make new friends and see things they may never see otherwise.”

Dr. Ross also opined for a day wherein all students from all financial backgrounds could cheaply travel.

“I think travel is an essential learning experience, and I wish all students could do it,” she said, “There’s really no replacement for cultural immersion.

Education First claims that the trips are, of course, focused on educating its travelers, but also giving them an arguably more valuable experience with their itinerary.

“Every program is intentionally designed to feature guided learning, cultural engagement, and independent exploration experiences to drive global competency development.”

The trip is now open for enrollment for everyone, but is being specifically pushed for PennWest Cal students. Anyone interested should reach out directly to Dr. Madden through his email, or simply look to the announcements page. Those who enroll early enough can secure a potential discount.