GALA 2020 heads to Australia and New Zealand

The annual GALA study abroad program is heading to Australia and New Zealand in spring of 2020. Photo from


The Global Adventures in the Liberal Arts program will select 20 Butler University students who will spend their 2020 spring semester in Australia and New Zealand.

Compared to other study abroad programs like exchanges and third party providers where students are based in one location for the entirety of the program, this faculty-led program travels from city to city for the duration of the semester. Students will take 14 credits of Butler core curriculum and visit places like the Great Barrier Reef and more.

The schedule includes stops in Sydney and Melbourne, but other places are not set in stone just yet.

Butler faculty members Kaitlyn Creasy, Ania Spyra and Mike Samide will be leading the trip. Creasy is a philosophy professor and is also the faculty director of the trip.

Creasy will spend all semester traveling with the students, and will teach an ethics course and an indigenous environmental thought in situ course, which can be taken for a text and ideas course credit and a social world course credit.

“I’m excited to take students everywhere we go,” Creasy said. “Anything we get to do will be fun.”

Dena Roberts, the associate director of faculty-led programs, works with the professors traveling on the trips and prepares everybody for the semester-long journey.

Roberts said the trips will include both city and outdoor experiences.

“It turns into an experience where it really changes your outlook on things,” Roberts said. “I think the program opens people’s eyes to themselves and what they want.”

Mark Williams is a senior international studies major and participated in GALA for the Caribbean trip in 2018. He said the study abroad experience changed his outlook for the better. It also made him think more about what he wants to do career-wise.  

“Being in the poorer places reminded me to keep things in perspective,” Williams said. “Little things like that, I took for granted and never really thought twice about.”

Williams said studying abroad and experiencing real world problems taught him essential life skills.

“I don’t think being in this Butler bubble is beneficial,” Williams said. “So if you do get the chance [to go outside of the Bubble] do it.”

LiYonna McCallum is a senior journalism major and attended the 2017 Mediterranean GALA trip. McCallum said she became more patient and had a better understanding of larger scale issues that go on in the world. She also learned how prioritize self-care.

“Self-care isn’t all about bath bombs or whatever,” McCallum said. It’s just saying ‘I cannot do more than what I’m already doing’ and being okay with it.”

Creasy had the opportunity to study abroad during both her undergraduate and graduate programs when she was in school, visiting Italy and Germany.

“Studying abroad really broadens your horizons,” Creasy said. “Something that really stuck with me is that there are people living different lives all over the world wherever you go.”

GALA 2020 applications are due April 19.  The program runs from mid-January to mid-April.


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