Travel Club offers trip to Curacus, Venezuela

By Joel Guggenheim

Some students might get to spend semester break in Venezuela.

NIU’s International Travel Club is sponsoring a trip to Curacas, Venezuela, and the country’s Riviera beach region for 15 days.

The tour group will fly straight to Curacas from O’Hare International Airport on Dec. 9 and will return to Chicago on Jan. 12. The deadline for trip registration is today.

The package cost for the trip is $1,095 and includes round-trip transportation, hotel, daily breakfast, transfers, taxes and services. Travelers also will need to fill out registration forms and have valid passports, and those who are not U.S. citizens must contact the Venezuelan consulate to determine if a student visa is needed.

An organizational meeting for the trip is scheduled Friday at 8 p.m. in Faraday Hall, room 143.

Linda Gruber, the club’s faculty adviser, said, “We (the club) wanted to present interesting and affordable trips to the faculty and students.”

The club will provide tour cards, at an additional cost, and persons may go on individual tours and purchase insurance for trip cancellation, baggage and accidents.

Martin Swidler, an NIU junior, said, “I’ve done a lot of traveling in the past, and I think the trips offered through school give a lot of people the opportunity to see places and things they could not ordinarily afford to see.”

The group’s tour guide, Pierre Doueihi, is an NIU graduate and a professional travel agent who has worked in Curacas and is familiar with the country and its language.

Gruber said that up until now, there have been no such clubs at NIU for students who like to travel, as is the case at other universities.

“The group went to France last August,” she said. “About 20 people went, and that’s a good number because it allows for individual attention.”

Gruber was chosen as faculty adviser for the club because she has traveled and taught abroad. She also deals exclusively with international studies in the English department.

“One distinguishing characteristic about our trips is that they have a lot of flexibility,” Gruber said. People are free to just relax or to partake in as many activities as they like.

Future club plans for next semester include a trip through Western Europe.