Joe Wyatt
Published March 5, 2018

Success is the variety of travel-abroad opportunities that Andreanna Simpson has seized at Amarillo College.

AC Paris Travel Homepage ImageAfter all, the freshman music major from Dumas is packing her bags for the second time in just three months to go on yet another outstanding student-centered, cultural-learning excursion to a foreign land – this time in France.

Simpson is one of 21 AC students and faculty who will be spending Spring Break in and around Paris as part of the College’s Educational Travel Program. Their weeklong journey begins with a flight out of Amarillo on Thursday, March 8.

“I think Amarillo College offers amazing opportunities,” said Simpson, who in January, along with her peers in AC’s Presidential Scholars Program, spent a week teaching English to elementary school students in the Dominican Republic.

“Our Scholars’ trip in January couldn’t have been better,” she said. “Our faculty leaders were strong, had a plan and knew what they were doing. I have no doubt the trip to Paris will be the same. I wouldn’t want to be attending a college anywhere right now other than Amarillo College.”

The springtime sojourn to Paris was announced last fall. AC students with at least a 2.5 grade point average who enrolled in one of several France-apropos spring classes could sign up for the trip and begin saving money for it.


The faculty members for each of those classes will be making the journey and tying lesson plans to points of interest along the way – at The Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and more. Disneyland Paris is also on the agenda.

The cost to participate is economical (about $3,500 each) thanks to a travel partnership between AC and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. By joining forces, contingents from both schools will enjoy shared group discounts for airfare, accommodations, tour guides and other expenses.

First-year AC student Josh Ballard, a communications major and graduate of River Road High School, was the first to commit to the trip. He immediately began working additional shifts at his part-time job at an Amarillo restaurant.


“I decided I was going to make this happen, that I would do whatever was necessary to come up with the money because this is an awesome opportunity,” Ballard said. “My family has helped me out some with money, and I was able to apply some scholarship money to the trip, but I had to come up with most of it myself.


“I just look at this as possibly a once-in-a-lifetime chance to expand what I know about other cultures, and I’m looking forward to all of it – from Disneyland Paris to the truly iconic Eiffel Tower.”


AC faculty making the trip are Dr. Diego Caetano, assistant professor of music; Becky Easton, assistant professor and chair of the English Department; Stephanie Jung, instructor of art; and Courtney Milleson, assistant professor of speech communications and travel coordinator.


“Learning about other cultures through trips such as this one changes the perspectives of students in a very positive way,” Milleson said. “It’s an especially incredible opportunity for freshmen and sophomores from a community college.


“It’s the sort of chance that usually only comes along for upperclassmen at a university. But then Amarillo College is hardly your typical community college.”