Planners need to experience a variety of cities so they can incorporate the best ideas into their plans and learn from the mistakes of others. As an urban planning student, you get to participate in the CAP field trip week each fall, a time when students and faculty leave their books behind and head out into the world to see how cities are meeting planning challenges. Often we meet up with alumni on these trips as well.
Each year we offer trips at three price ranges. The “big” trip includes plane fare and might take you to Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, or Atlanta. The middle trip is often to Nashville, Pittsburgh, or a variety of cities in Michigan. We always offer an Indiana trip for those who are new to the state or on a tight budget. We open all three trips to all planning students, making the trips a great way to mix with a variety of students!
We also make a trip each spring to the site of the American Planning Association conference. Recent conference sites have included Phoenix and New York. The 2018 conference site is set for April 21-24 in New Orleans.
What Do Students Say about Travel?
Students say the field trips are among their most memorable and eye-opening college experiences. Sam Wiser, BUPD '17, says she fell in love with Denver during her junior year and hopes to live there after college.
"We not only visited design firms and local governmental agencies, but we also immersed ourselves into the culture and society. There were multiple occasions that we would be on the bus system to either Boulder or just crossing from one side of town to the other, and we talked to the locals about their experiences and daily lives.
By really diving deep into the everyday experience of someone who lives in that city, we were able to hear about what worked or didn't work for that city. Then later, we would all talk about the people we met that day and what we would do to fix their problems.”
CapAsia field studies is a semester-long trip to such locales as Sri Lanka, India, China and Thailand under the leadership of South Asian scholar Nihal Perera.
Planning professors have led trips to Japan and Korea in recent years as well. And planning students are able to take advantage of CAP trips such as World Tour and other trips to Italy, Australia, and South America. Additionally, the Rinker Center for International Programs offers a huge selection of trips and semester-abroad opportunities.