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SUNY Plattsburgh Expeditionary Studies Program Takes Students Around the World

A call to adventure from Associate Professor and Chair of Expeditionary Studies Dr. Larry Soroka brought 21 SUNY Plattsburgh students from a variety of academic disciplines to the other side of the world this past January.

The invitation was to trek 68 miles across mountains in Nepal over 13 days. Several took the opportunity in conjunction with a course on Nepal and the tourism industry.

Using Casey Henley, an Expeditionary Studies instructor who is a world-class guide and mountaineer, and Barry Brown, who is a sea kayak instructor in addition to being an avid traveler and a technical support assistant in the college's theater department, Soroka organized the week-long trip in the developing country for under $1,400, which is a deal by professional standards. But the price wasn't the only thing the trip had going for it.

"For me, it was really cool that Plattsburgh State could support this kind of adventure," Henley said.

"What made this traveling class great was Larry Soroka and Casey Henley," said Anthony Gualtieri, an Expeditionary Studies major. "The collective information they have would be hard to find in another program."

And then there was the human dimension.

"It's not so much about climbing a big mountain," said Henley. "This is about human adventure. It's about talking, interacting, and engaging with the people."

Student Experience

Henley added that the students' adventurous pursuit of new experiences and human interaction, despite differing languages and cultures, was even more impressive than the breathtaking mountains.

This isn't the first or last trip for the Expeditionary Studies Program.

"There's always opportunity here at SUNY Plattsburgh," said nursing major and Nepal traveler, Amy Gimma. "Find out what's going on and take advantage of it."

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