By David Capobianco
This summer, up to 15 students can earn three credits by taking a trip to Slovenia and studying abroad in an ECO 44 course, led by economics professor Veronika Dolar. The trip will run from June 28 to July 10, and also feature visits to Vienna, Austria; Venice, Italy; and Pula, Croatia.
According to the course’s website, liuslovenia.weebly.com, activities include the chance to swim in the Mediterranean Sea and in an Alpine Glacier Lake, go over 500 feet deep in a coal mine, then use a cable car to climb 6310 feet above the sea level in the Slovenian Alps. On the same day, visit the birthplace of the Lipizzaner horse, and tour “one of the most majestic caves in the world where baby dragons are born.”
Students will also have the chance to visit one of the most advanced thermal power stations in the world , which is not open to the general public. This is made possible because Dolar, who is from Slovenia, uses her connections in her native country to gain access to places and experiences other tourists wouldn’t have access to. “We get lectures by the foreign minister of labor, and when we go to my hometown, we get the welcoming party by the mayor of the city,” she said. Dolar led this summer travel course before in 2015. The course offers the chance for students to witness economic differences and similarities in other countries and cultures firsthand. And Slovenia specifically, Dolar says, is a great example for this. “It’s a very big welfare state, it has high taxes, and their GDP per capita is much lower,” she explained. “But I think when you go there, people are surprised by how good life is. This is something that I think is an eye-opener.” Dolar stated that visiting Slovenia allows students to see how countries do things differently, and that there are multiple approaches to solving problems in the economy and society.
Emil Andersson, an LIU Post alumnus who went on the trip in 2015, said the trip is mostly about the economic transition in Europe, how Yugoslavia transitioned into a free-market economy, and how the countries that separated from Yugoslavia created their own states. “It was easy to understand how economic policies influenced society,” he said. Andersson said he “absolutely” recommends the trip for students. “I learned a lot,” he said, adding that it was “a nice mixture of economics and history.” Andersson created a website about his experiences in this course, including his pictures and work from the trip and a blog, that can be found at emilandersson.weebly.com.
This course can appeal to more than just economic students, Dolar said. The course is cross-listed as a political science and international relations course but history, environmental science, art and business are key components of the trip as well. “Pretty much anybody can get something out of this,” she said.
This is only the second time that Dolar is offering this course. When the course was first offered in 2015, it did not feature visits to Austria and Croatia. Dolar said she thinks those places add another component to the history aspect of the trip.
The cost of this course is $4,653, which includes tuition and fees for accommodation, meals, in-country transportation, admission to events and museums and tours, according to the course site. Airfare is not included in that price. Dolar said students can travel with her on a flight from JFK to Vienna, but it can be up to $400 cheaper for students to buy their own tickets.
More information on the Slovenia trip can be found by contacting Dolar at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting the course’s site. Students can apply by clicking on the “course registration” tab on the website, and filling out the application.