MISSOULA, Mont. — One group of Montana students is hoping to go to the Middle East, but they need more people to sign up.
"We live in Missoula, Montana, which is sort of its own microcosm, and there is this world out there that we need to understand," said Hellgate senior Madi Provo.
That's why she and three others want to travel 6,700 miles to Jordan, on the other side of the world.
"In my experience, it is really the only way that language gets grounded in a student's mind is through travel," said Brendan Work, head Arabic teacher for Missoula County Public Schools.
Arabic may seem like a unique offering in Missoula, but a couple dozen students jump on it every semester.
"Arabic is a very useful language, just because we have so many troops in the Middle East right now, so I thought that it would be something that could deepen my understanding of the world," said Provo.
Thalia Gustina said she took the class because it just seemed like a unique language opportunity, while Kaya McCutcheon said she loves language and thought Arabic is gorgeous both when written and spoken.
Hellgate senior Calvin Servheen said he took the class because it's relevant to American foreign policy.
"We are super interested in studying international business, and we think that it will be very beneficial to us to be able to go to Jordan," said Servheen.
Servheen, McCutcheon, Gustina and Provo are all signed up for the trip to Jordan, but in order for their travels to become a reality they need a total of 15 people. Participants don't have to speak Arabic and can be students at any school, parents or teachers.
Work says the trip will consist of riding camels, rolling down sand dunes, eating authentic Arab cuisine and visiting old ruins. He also points out that Jordan is safe.
The U.S. State Department lists Jordan as a travel advisory level two, meaning travelers should exercise increased caution, because some areas have an increased risk for terrorism. It's the same warning listed for countries like Spain, France and Germany.
"If you're worried about going because it's not going to be safe -- it's definitely going to be safe. If you're worried because you think it's going to be too alien -- yeah, it's going to be an alien culture, but it's definitely going to be super interesting," said Servheen.
The trip is $4,000 per person. Once they get 15 people signed up, they have a private tour arranged through Explorica Educational Travel
The Arabic Honors students wrote up a proposal to do some fundraising around town.
If enough people sign up they will take off in March.