How Travel Can Enhance Learning

Caroline Hartzell
Political Science Prof. Caroline Hartzell travels around the word to conduct research and enhance the educational experience for her students.

Originally from Washington State, Caroline Hartzell moved a lot growing up. “I have lived in Bolivia, Colombia, Italy, and graduated from high school in Spain. With all of this, I always say that I was either doomed or destined to teach international relations!” 

Now, having taught at Gettysburg for almost 30 years, Hartzell is a professor and the chair of the political science department. She dedicates a lot of her time to teaching, but spends her free time traveling everywhere she can and researching countries that have gone through civil wars.

“I love watching a student that is in Intro to International Relations start to work with critical thinking skills. Then, I get to watch them develop those skills over the course of four years,” said Hartzell. “I get to watch cycles of human development over and over again. Not many people have jobs that let them do that kind of thing.” 

Caroline Hartzell
Hartzell's office is adorned with mementos from her travels.

One of her favorite memories of teaching has been teaching her North-South Dialogue class. One year in particular, Hartzell took the whole class to Nicaragua for two weeks and used the experience as a basis for a research project the class worked on throughout the whole semester.

“It was such a bonding experience. I even have a picture of the class hung up in my office. Just two weeks ago, some of those students came back as alumni to give back to the College and talk about their careers in international relations to my current students.” 

When it comes to her time at Gettysburg, Hartzell reflects on how special a place Gettysburg is to be at. “People come to places like this and say, ‘Oh, it's beautiful,’ but there is another meaning to it,” she reflected. “We may forget it in our everyday lives, but if you stop and think about the true and deep symbolism of this place, it can root you back to what matters. It brings me back to what I teach about and what I want for my students every day.”

By Cameron Jury '23
Photos by Sofia Gutierrez ’26
Posted: 01/30/24

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