Sociology class finishes 200-mile pilgrimage

Sociology class finishes 200-mile pilgrimage
What I Did This Summer series

Nebraska's Tori Tyron looks out across the Atlantic Ocean at the end of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.
Deb Schaben | Sociology
Nebraska's Tori Tyron looks out across the Atlantic Ocean at the end of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.

A 1,000-year-old pilgrimage through Europe served as a focal point of summer study for 15 Huskers and two leaders.

Enrolled in Sociology 398, the students completed a five-week online course before taking an additional three weeks to walk nearly 200 miles of the Camino de Santiago through Spain. The pilgrimage includes routes through Europe, all converging at the reported tomb of St. James, an apostle to Jesus.

What I Did This Summer graphic

During the 13th century, the route reportedly had a million pilgrims walking to or from Santiago de Compostela, Spain, at any given time. In recent years, the trail averages 20,000 to 40,000 pilgrims monthly.

The sociology course included history of the Camino de Santiago and pilgrimages in general. The students explored who has historically participated in the pilgrimage, social structures that promoted or inhibited participation, and various interpretations of pilgrimage events.

Once a strictly religious experience, the pilgrimage has grown into a more secular experience in recent years.

The Nebraska students’ pilgrimage was completed between May 15 to June 1 and covered the path from Leon, Spain, to Santiago de Compostela. They averaged nearly 15 miles each day, walking through small hamlets, urban centers and mountain paths. The student group stayed in small hostels and an occasional hotel along the journey.

Click the image below to see a photo story about the students' walk along the Camino de Santiago.