by Jocelyn Visnov, Asst. Production Editor
This past July, I boarded a plane with seven other MC students and a professor I had never met before. The weeks that followed were easily the most adventurous and memorable of my summer.
Two and a half weeks may not seem like a long time compared to the traditional semester-long study abroad experience. However, each day was so different from the one before and so full of adventure, I felt like we had been there much longer.
We landed in Lisbon, Portugal on July 20th, 2021. After a day or two, we got into a solid routine that allowed us to explore on our own, while also having time for lectures and homework following the curriculum.
Each day after breakfast, we would meet up for the day’s lecture. Led by Professor Andrew Skotniki, we discussed readings that related to the day’s activities. Then we would go on “site visits” which took place in Lisbon and beyond. Once the site visit was complete and we all got back to the hotel, we could spend the rest of the day however we chose, before meeting up for dinner. This free time gave us the opportunity to explore local sights in
Lisbon, experience the culture, or take time to rest and prepare for class.
Along with our ventures within Lisbon, we also went to Evora, Belem, Fatima, and Tomar. This took us through different cathedrals, museums, and castles, each more beautiful than the next.
During our Sunday off, we went to Playa de Fonte da Telha, a beach located about 30 minutes outside of Lisbon. The way the sun sparkled off the ocean was a sight I’ll never forget.
Personally, what I found most breathtaking during our travels was the architecture. Occasionally, we would come to a site overlooking the coast of Lisbon. The colorful array of orange, yellow, and pink houses was unlike anything I had ever seen before. During our travels around Portugal, we were also exposed to various other forms of architecture such as Gothic, Manueline, Baroque and Moorish architecture.
I would highly recommend any student whose academic course load permits it to look into participating in Study Abroad during their time at MC. The application process may seem daunting, but it can actually be completed fairly quickly. Especially for mini-sessions, the application essays are short and sweet.
In addition, I found that doing a shorter session of Study Abroad was a good first introduction to solo travel. Going away for a whole semester in the fall or the spring may not be for everyone. With a short session, you get the experience of learning outside the classroom, with less of a commitment than going away for three-plus months at a time.
Also, shorter sessions of Study Abroad typically only allow you to take three to six credits. This allows for more flexibility in taking courses that fit your schedule, rather than trying to find 12+ credits to take that fits your course load.
Going abroad this summer opened my eyes to how entirely different cultures around the world are, and how truly beautiful they can be. It reminded me to do more things that put me out of my comfort zone and inspired me to want to travel more in the future.
If you’re interested in seeing a glimpse of our 2021 trip to Lisbon, as well as some awesome videography, search “Lisbon 2021” for a video made by senior Brandon Samaroo. Or, search “Jaspers Abroad, Lisbon 2021” for some content caught from my iPhone.
If you’re interested in participating in Study Abroad, I highly encourage you to reach out to the department or attend an interest meeting. You won’t regret it.