Charmion Arthur, instructor of art and design at Fort Hays State University, absorbed the beauty of an Italian sunrise from the third floor balcony at a summer resort outside of Rome. While watching the light reflections scamper across the lake, her coffee still simmering, she decided she may never want to leave.
This was Arthur’s first trip to Italy, but just as the infamous Trevi Fountain promises to all visitors who throw a coin into her basin, Arthur was destined to return. She would not return alone, however. In her future visits she would be leading Fort Hays State University students and local community members to explore the rich and mysterious experiences of Italy.
Arthur is preparing to make her third trip this spring. This time she will serve as the group leader for 21 people, ages 20-73, through the “Grand Tour of Italy” program offered through EF College Break Tours. Arthur, the trip co-sponsor, Martha Holmes, Assistant Professor of Art and Design, and the travelers will be leaving March 17 for a nine-day Italian tour covering the cities and sites of Venice, Florence, Pompeii, the Vatican City and Rome.
“I get excited with students when they see the artwork. The first time I was excited. My mouth dropped open in amazement. Now I get wrapped up in the students’ excitement,” Arthur said.
Arthur, a Fort Hays alum, wants travelers to “be able to experience and see the difference” in the way Italians and Americans live their lives. She hopes that her students can “experience Italy in their own way,” but she warns them to be especially cautious because international travel can be very dangerous.
Despite the dangers, Arthur encourages people to travel.
“Whatever people can afford, they should go experience life and not get caught up in their day-to-day routines.”
In the serenity of her beautifully decorated office, she shares her love for strong Italian coffee, her appreciation for Roman art and architecture, and the inviting characteristics of the Tuscan women she visited. The personality traits she describes are reflected within her smile and conversation ability, but this isn’t the only way Italy has influenced her.
As far as her everyday life, Arthur tries to incorporate the more relaxed European culture by creating a more laid back environment within her classroom and home, where she tries to relax and enjoy every day with her husband and children. In the event of a stressful day, she reminds herself, her family or her students to “just breathe.”
“My advice to you: travel. Go places. See things. Life, it seems like, can take a lot of things away from you. It cannot take your education away from you. It can not take your experiences away from you. So just enjoy life and have fun,” Arthur said.