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‘All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware’ -Martin Buber


Posted on January 29, 2014 by Barb Krier '14, Delaware Valley College student.

A journey may be getting on a ship, driving your car, using an airline or using your imagination to travel.

Journeys may last many months or they can be as short as a day or even a few moments. Just getting through each day can feel like a journey!

Usually when a person leaves on a journey, it is a planned trip. When we walk out the door we usually know where we are going. Or at least we think we do.

I thought I knew where I was headed when I walked through the doors of the Admission Office at DelVal several years ago. I was going to attend classes and earn my bachelor’s degree in counseling psychology.

Courtesy: Barb Krier Barb Krier '14 (left), a counseling psychology student, traveled with Semester At Sea to a village in Panama with DelVal counseling psychology faculty member Dr. Audrey Ervin (right).

I expected that I would grow intellectually by being exposed to all kinds of academia. I imagined myself walking across the green grass of the quad on my way to class. I thought about all of the papers that would need to be written. I knew there would be long hours at the library doing research. I looked forward to exchanging ideas during classroom discussions. I imagined that my professors would enrich and inspire me. What I was unable to imagine was that my academic journey would involve leaving the classroom and traveling to 12 different countries! Imagine that!

DelVal is always looking for new opportunities to expand the learning experience. The college understands that experiential learning is of great value. DelVal supports and encourages a varied learning experience. As part of that mindset, there is a lot of information available about many different study abroad programs.

My psychology professor, Dr. Audrey Ervin, told the class about the Semester At Sea program, which sails around the world carrying students on a learning vessel. It is literally a floating campus.

With the encouragement and support of my professors I found myself setting sail with the Semester At Sea program on the MV Explorer. I studied global mental health throughout South and Central America. I had an opportunity to visit mental health facilities and volunteer with social service agencies in countries such as Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama and Belize. I learned about the stigma associated with mental health and how it varies from culture to culture.

When I started studying at DelVal I never imagined that I would be on a ship traveling to all of these places. I surely did not foresee that I would be in Panama traveling down a river in a dug out canoe to visit the Embarra Indian village. Who knew?!

I knew I wanted more! The following year I traveled throughout Europe with a few students and my counseling psychology professors, Dr. Audrey Ervin and Dr. Allison Buskirk-Cohen. We toured an amazing research facility in the Netherlands at Radboud University in Nijmegen. We met with professors and administrators at the university who were welcoming and interested to exchange ideas about international studies. We spoke to students we met on the train and gained insight into what it would be like to live and study in another country. We traveled to France, Scotland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Ireland and England. My journey into academia now included expanding my global awareness in so many enriching ways.

I thought my journey would be to travel to campus each day, attend the required classes and go home. I imagined that all of my learning would be contained within the covers of my text books.

I now realize that learning does not just happen in the classroom. It comes mostly from applying classroom knowledge to the world at large.

The other piece is that we take what we have learned from others and bring new points of view back into the classroom. My learning no longer comes solely from books and lectures. My interaction with different people and their cultures has brought new points of view. I knew that I could come back to DelVal and share that enrichment with… well anyone who would listen!

I have a new passion for learning, one that was not there before. My journey with DelVal has taken me to places that I never could have imagined. I am not just speaking about the fantastic chance to travel to new places. I am speaking about the growth and insight that has happened inside of me. It is exciting and energizing.

I brought that energy back to campus and into the classroom. I strive to inspire others through not only these words, but also by encouraging others to walk through that door. Walk through it and be changed. I am changed, I am part of the change, and I am the change.


Barb Krier ’14
Delaware Valley College counseling psychology student
Presidential Fellow