Field trips* are optional components of specified modules within UCLan’s Religion, Culture and Society (RCS) programmes which students may participate in (*subject to change).
RCS aims to draw attention to shared values, beliefs and practices, and supports students in achieving a mutual appreciation of different faiths and traditions. These aims are further supported by national and international field trips, which are optional components of specified modules. The international trips aim to develop an experienced awareness of cultural heritage, traditions and practices of different faiths, and widen students’ appreciation of how those faiths and belief systems interact within lived environments, communities and in different social settings. To date these trips have been highly successful, not only in extending student knowledge and enhancing the student experience but also in ‘bonding’ the student body.
A number of trips are interdisciplinary, therefore interacting with other subject teams. For example, our trip to Auschwitz in Poland is a joint venture with Criminology. As such, we experience the journey from both a faith perspective and a social justice (crimes against humanity) perspective. To date our international trips have included: Rome, Italy; Istanbul, Turkey; Lourdes, France; next year we hope to travel to Seville in Spain.
Joseph Austin, BA (Hons) Religion, Culture and Society said: "My experience in Cartagena was the first international RCS trip that I had participated in and as a third year student, I can definitely say that I feel I missed out by not attending previous international trips.
We began our time in Cartagena by offloading in the Carlos Hotel and going out for a meal together. For me this was one of the highlights of the trip, being able to share our stories and experiences from the past years and also hearing from the lecturers.
On the first full day we took part in a stunning walking tour, taking in all the ancient culture and the archaeological sites, including a visit to the ancient crypts and the Roman amphitheatre. This made for a fantastic experience and one that I will never forget. We also enjoyed an amazing boat tour of Cartagena and learnt a great deal about the history of this remarkable city. Another highlight of the trip was the experience of the endless cafes and restaurants offering authentic and great tasting Spanish cuisine.
I felt the trip was especially great in that it brought all the years of RCS together, making a fantastic experience with people who we may otherwise have had no interaction with. I cannot recommend enough participating in an RCS international trip, I had such a great and unforgettable time and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
Many thanks to Carolyn and Jess, the trip was planned very well and the excellent itinerary meant that we all got to experience a truly unforgettable trip."
Jessica Nash, BA (Hons) Religion, Culture and Society said: "The trip to Copenhagen, the great capital of Denmark, was amazing. I cannot express enough how amazing it was. Copenhagen was spectacular and oozed with culture and history. The capital lived up to the country's reputation of the happiest place in the world, as the locals were lovely and couldn't help us enough. We went on a walking tour, which I would highly recommend, as it afforded us the opportunity to learn about the city, but also worked on a tip basis (thankfully for us students).
Copenhagen has a multitude of sites and places to visit and explore such as, Christiansborg Palace, where the Danish parliament resides; Paper Island, where there is a wide selection of street food; the Botanical Gardens, where there are amazing views and a calming atmosphere; Our Saviour's church, which has a spire that you can climb and view the city. Aspects of religion could be seen throughout Copenhagen, as there are many churches that can be identified by their spires soaring above the skyline. We were also told of the incredible patriotism the Danish have towards each other, especially with regards to the Nazi occupation, when they rallied around their Jewish citizens.
This is the second international field trip I have been on with the RCS course and it managed to exceed my experience of the previous trip to Budapest. It introduced me to new people from different years and different courses, which afforded us the opportunity to create new and extraordinary memories. If anyone is considering doing the RCS course, or debating whether to sign up for an international field trip, I can guarantee the course and the trips involved will not disappoint.
There needs to be a big thank you to Carolyn and Jess for organising a wonderful experience."
Victoria Yates, BA (Hons) Religion, Culture and Society said: "Our trip to Copenhagen, home to some of the happiest people in the world, was truly unforgettable. Despite only spending three days in the Danish capital I experienced a huge variety of culture and fun, from Rosenborg Castle and the crown jewels, to the thrills of Tivoli theme park, and everything in-between.
We were treated to both an informative walking tour of the city as well as a peaceful canal excursion around the picturesque waterways and harbours; we visited the Queen’s palace and parliamentary buildings, as well as being awed by the stunning architecture of historic churches only a short stroll from the impressive modernistic theatre and opera house at the cutting edge of Danish design. My own personal highlights included the hippy commune of Christiania, a grungy laid-back utopia, and the amazing beauty of thousands of free roaming deer in the UNESCO world heritage nature reserve of Dyrehaven, just a 20-minute train journey outside the city.
Lecturer Carolyn King, organised an amazing trip; we were treated to very comfortable accommodation, a wealth of free tourist attractions and free metro use with the Copenhagen Card and just the right balance of time spent as a large group as well as free time to explore Copenhagen more independently. An amazing experience!"
Parhin Begum, RCS BA Honours student said: "I can definitely say that my trip to Seville/Cordoba (Spain) this year has been the highlight of my second year. I remember how immediately after the first meeting for the trip, my friends and I rushed to the Adelphi Building to confirm our places as we were so excited. We heard so much about the beauty of Seville, and we were not disappointed!
Our trip was wonderful from the start, from the gracious hotel, the dancing flamencos, the tapas bars, the orange trees and the friendly Spaniards. It was a wonderful experience to observe the rich history of Seville in person. We were lucky that our hotel was very close to the city centre therefore we used this chance to take peaceful strolls in the evenings. We also had an insightful visit to the Alcazar Palace and the grand Cathedral of Seville, which were breathtaking.
We were also fortunate enough to be granted the opportunity to visit Cordoba during our trip. We enjoyed a visit to the Museums of the Three Faiths, the Roman Bridge and the magnificent Moorish Castle, which overlooked a large luscious garden.
Alongside visiting the iconic historical sites, I would say the most memorable moment for me personally was when I reunited with my previous room-mate who is a native Sevillian. She was able to show us around and she really showed us a good time!
All in all, it was a momentous trip and I really hope I get the chance to visit Spain again :D"
Alex McGowen, 3rd year BA Hons Religion Culture and Society student, said: "My time in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, was undoubtedly a highlight of my time on the RCS course and I deeply regret not participating in the trips organised prior to this one.
Budapest is a beautiful city and has a rich, if at times dark, history. The architecture is of a standard rarely seen in modern times and the ambient temperature, as well as a warm atmosphere have placed Budapest into one of my favourite holiday destinations.
We were guests at the prestigious Corvinus University and were warmly welcomed by the Social Science Department, who shared their day with us. The staff and students gave us a tour of the campus and we hope to strengthen our international exchange links with Corvinus.
Budapest has so many amazing sites and places to explore such as, Buda Castle, St Stephen’s Basilica, St Matthias Church, the Grand Palace and the Hungarian Parliament. We also had time to visit some galleries and museums, take a boat trip on the Danube and enjoy the famous thermal baths and the food in local café bars and restaurants was amazing.
In terms of religion, we saw how even when the populace of a country was brought to its knees under the oppression of a communist government, there was always a necessity for religion. This was evidenced by the development of the ‘cave church’, in which followers of a faith would secretly attend mass in order to hold onto the faintest glimmer of hope. On a trip to the Jewish quarter we saw the second largest Synagogue in the world, which was awesome!
This trip brought me close to other students, both younger and older, and we shared some unforgettable memories that would not have happened if not for this wondrous opportunity.
I strongly urge anyone who is debating whether or not to attend a trip organised by the RCS team to sign up and get on the plane! Thank you very much Carolyn and Carl!"
Jennifer Adamson, 3rd year BA Hons Religion, Culture and Society student, said: "During our trip to Córdoba we learned about the intersection of Judaism, Islam and Christianity in Andalusia with the help of enthusiastic guides who enlightened us with the fascinating history of the wonderful sites that we visited.
We explored the grounds of the beautiful Alhambra in Granada where we learned about the rich history of the site which had changed hands from a Muslim settlement to a palace for the Sultan until Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, built his own palace there. We were impressed by the beautiful Islamic architecture amongst floral gardens where water amazingly cascades from fountains and streams despite its source being at the foot of the hill.
Aside from the spectacular Alhambra, we visited Córdoba Cathedral which started life as a Mosque but now has a Catholic Cathedral embedded into its structure. Before visiting the Cathedral I could not understand how a building could be both a Mosque and a Cathedral but David, our guide, explained the uniqueness of the building - where visitors can appreciate the harmonious mixture of architecture from both faiths.
The trip was the perfect way to meet other students with similar interests because, although not all students studied religion, they all had genuine interests in the faiths and culture which we enjoyed discussing during our free time.
I would urge anyone thinking of taking part in an RCS trip to sign-up so that you don’t miss the opportunity to visit magical places and learn from experts in the company of like-minded students. A truly amazing experience – never to be forgotten."
Steve Marshall said: "The RCS field trip to the amazing city of Istanbul was a fantastic opportunity for students to encounter where east meets west and to place a foot in two continents on the same day. I was overwhelmed and inspired by the beauty of the setting sun over the magnificent Blue Mosque and the equally breathtaking. "Aghia Sophia" our intensive tour of the landmarks encapsulated the multi cultural gateway where ancient meets new from the Roman city walls to the Ottoman architecture of Baroc style in the Dolmabahce Palace to the Islamic and early Christian art works of the Aghia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. My highlight was to reach the ripe old age of fifty five with a Turkish bath at the Cemberlitas Hamami, the oldest in the city and to join some of my Muslim class mates at the early morning prayers at the Blue Mosque. The culture and people are warm, friendly, and most inviting. The immensity of the city is breathtaking and it was with saddened hearts we returned home from what has become a life changing experience for all of us that had the pleasure of sharing, not only what the city had to offer but what we together as a group shared. I would wholeheartedly recommend any trip organized by the RCS team."
Danielle Hover said: “Auschwitz was a trip of a lifetime, not only did it provide time for me to get to know people on my course but allowed me to engage with people in other years on other courses. The concentration camps (Auschwitz and Birkenhau) were two places I will never forget, the knowledge and emotion I came away with that day is something that will stay with me for life. I would definitely visit Poland again and the price of food and drink may be a contributing factor to my return.”
Jason Chadwick, 2nd year BA Hons Religion, Culture and Society student, said: “My experience at Auschwitz was mind blowing, I thought I had prepared myself for the trip ahead but I hadn’t. The feelings and emotions that overcome you are frightening; however I do not regret the trip at all. What I saw in those three days will always be memories in my mind and the excursions taught me a lot. I would definitely recommend this trip to all Religion, Culture and Society students because you will engage more with your peers and develop new friendships whilst learning about one of the most horrific stories to date. The food and drink is also brilliant and the group had a ball together, particularly in the evening!"
Katie Crompton, 2nd year BA Hons Religion, Culture and Society student said: “Rome was an amazing experience, and I would recommend anyone to go as it is a beautiful city. I was overwhelmed with the beautiful sites, from the Coliseum to the Vatican to the Trevi Fountain; all breath-taking and historically interesting. The place is just amazing. The time that we spent there was packed, we travelled to new and exciting landmarks every day and enjoyed free time together most evenings – it was fantastic – I only wish we had stayed longer! The trip to Rome has been a personal highlight for me, not only as part of the Religion, Culture and Society course but as part of my own life experience. I would highly recommend this, or any RCS trip, to students. RCS trips far exceed any expectations that you may have.”
Judith Ward, 2nd year student said: “The trip to Rome was a great experience, and one that I will never forget. As a combined honours student I enquired through RCS, and even though there was limited places I managed to get one. I did not know all the students that were participating in the trip, but that was good because meeting the other students and lecturers made the experience more interesting and exciting. The Rome trip was educational and great fun at the same time. During the days we visited the main attractions such as the Coliseum, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, The Vatican – museum & Sistine Chapel - etc.
We had tour guides with us whilst we were over there so that they could explain the history and culture behind the main attractions. At night we would go for meals together, walks and shopping. Although most of our evening was ‘free time’ we usually stayed together as a group because everyone enjoyed each other’s company and we had such a laugh together. If I had the opportunity I would definitely go again, and I loved the fact that I made new friends and I still keep in touch with them.”