The acorn from which the World Cruise has developed grew out of the extensionwork conducted by the Extramural Division of New York University. This division was organized in 1908 to conduct courses of university grade outside the work of the university. In the summer of 1914 a group of students and an instructor went to Europe to make a study of methods of industrial education. The class was in Cologne at the outbreak of the World War and returned to America after going through many experiences not included in the original plan.
The war and the unsettled conditions following the war prevented any further developement of travel-study work for several years. In the summer of 1923 a number of New York University students and their instructors made an extensive tour of Europe. Courses of college grade were given throughout the tour in European geography, art, and the background of English Literature.The educational outcome of the summer's work was very satisfactory. The instructors found that the distractions were more than compensated for by the advantage derived from first-hand contact with the art galleries of Europe, and with the people and places of educational significance. The usual technique of field work in geography and geology was also applied to the courses in art nad English Literature, and those who completed the work received full university credit for their courses.
The summers of 1924, 1925, 1926 brought a rapid extension of this type of work. New travel courses were added to the program and resident study courses were organized for France, Germany, Italy, and England. From the very beginning these summerstudy tours have been kept entirely distinct from the ordinary sightseeing trips by adhering strictly to an educational purpose.
The organization of the University World Cruise came about as a direct result of the success of the summer study tours. Plans were made to sail from New York in September 1925 and about 300 students were amassed, but the time was too short to secure our quota and the sailing date was postponed to September 1926.
In the beginning it was planned to conduct the cruise under the educational division of New York University, but the magnitude and novelty of the undertaking, and especiallythe nation-wide interest taken in the plan soon made it evident that the best results could be secured if the educational work of the Cruise was not controlled by one University but by an independent organization. This would insure the full support and cooperation of many colleges and universities that might hesitate to send students on a cruise managed exclusively by one university.
The arrangement has been more satisfactory, the effective cooperation of many institutions has been enjoyed, faculty and student body from colleges in every section ofthe land have been enrolled, and the impression abroad has properly been made that the students came not from a single University, but as representatives of American College youths.
I have sketched briefly the developement of the plans which culminated when we cast off on September 18, 1926, and set sail from New York on the first Universuty World Cruise. This was a pioneer undertaking. There was no precedent to guide us. The delay in sailing, as first planned, necessitated reorganization of the faculty. Throughout the entire period of organization, and throughout the seven and a half months of the cruise itself, there has been a strict adherence to the original ideals of the undertaking; to conduct a cruise around the world that shall not be a mere sightseeing trip but a college year of educational travel and systematic study; to develope an interest in foreign affairs; to train students to think in world terms; and to strengthen international understanding and good will.
James E. Lough