Stories from Study Tour

Current students recently had their first travel week of the semester, with many embarking on a Week-Long Study Tour with their core course! Students traveled on faculty-led tours to relevant places in Europe, with the opportunity to visit leaders in the field, engage with local communities, and bond with fellow classmates. Hear from Marina, Daniel, and Melody, three students who spent Travel Week 1 with their core course:

Marina’s Study Tour

Student-Marina-Mundo-Cross-Cultural-Comm-Belfast-Dublin-Tour

Name: Marina Mundo
Home University: Haverford College
Core Course: Cross-Cultural Communication
Study Tour to: Belfast and Dublin 

What was the best thing you saw in Dublin and Belfast?

The Giants Causeway near Belfast was an amazing spot with a pretty funny legend behind it, at least the way our bus driver told us. The volcanic rock formations near the water and green mountains were really stunning views.

What was the best thing you ate while there?

We ate so much fish & chips with mushy peas! It was great sitting at a local pub listening to live music while having a meal.

What was one thing you learned while on your study tour?

I learned just how much history and culture could be encapsulated in a small island like Ireland. The conflicts that sparked there many years ago during the Troubles aren’t really acknowledged anymore internationally, yet they still shape the way so many communities interact and go about their daily lives.

Who did you meet on your study tour that made an impression on you?

We met a couple of artists who painted some of the famous Bogside murals in Derry, Northern Ireland. Hearing of how they witnessed Bloody Sunday, yet have channeled their efforts in to peace and remembrance was really incredible.

Looking back, what was the highlight of your study tour to Dublin and Belfast?

On the final night, we went to listen to traditional Irish music, fiddle and everything! We all got to sing along and share our own songs; it was a truly unforgettable experience.

Daniel’s Study Tour

Daniel-Distler-SP17-European Business-Strategy-London-tour

Name: Daniel Distler
Home University: University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
Core Course: European Business Strategy: Case Studies
Study Tour to: London

What was the best thing you saw in London?

Big Ben. I had always pictured the iconic tower as a rather boring architectural feature. However, seeing it in person, I was blown away. The level of detail and the amazing location the heart of the city were truly spectacular.

What was the best thing you ate in London?

My favorite was our trip to High Tea. We dined in luxury and ate our fill of delicious finger sandwiches and pastries. We felt so fancy by the end; we were ready to raise our pinkies.

What was one thing you learned while on your study tour?

I learned a lot about the British business market. We talked about the impact of Brexit and other global trends in the nation, which gave me valuable insight into how businesses operate in the UK.

Who did you meet on your study tour that made an impression on you?

Our tour guide at Lloyd’s of London (a well-known insurance marketplace in the city). He was incredibly charismatic and knowledgeable and told fascinating stories about the group that made insurance a captivating subject.

Looking back, what was the highlight of your study tour to London?

The amazing opportunity to balance learning and cultural experiences. Whether it was hearing from local businesses, biking and walking by Buckingham Palace, or hearing about and seeing the business side of Wimbledon, the trip did a great job of balancing these two objectives.

Melody’s Study Tour

Melody-Lin-Sp17-European-Game-of-Politics-Brussels-Tour

Name: Melody Lin
Home University: Rice University
Core Course: The European Game of Politics: Crisis and Survival
Study Tour to: Brussels

What was the best thing you saw in Brussels?

Seeing the European Parliament was an amazing experience for me because, although the rows of seats were completely empty of any politicians during my tour, the room was still buzzing with political energy. Sitting there, listening to the tour guide, I could imagine a bearded politician yelling across the aisle at a non-bearded politician, and the translators in their booths scrambling to translate the foreign insults into something understandable. It was nuts!

What was the best thing you ate in Brussels?

Brussels is famous for its mussels (can’t get over the rhyme!), chocolate, fries, and waffles (and this sort-of-rhymes). It sadly isn’t famous for its Brussels sprouts. I feel like I’m betraying the city when I say that the best thing I ate was a baked potato and smoked salmon salad at a random café (The Office) that I stumbled upon. It doesn’t sound like much, but the smoked salmon was literally overflowing the bowl, and the baked potato was buttered to savory perfection.

What was one thing you learned while on your study tour?

I learned that there are two different kinds of Belgium waffles, which completely blew my mind! Apparently, there are Brussels waffles and Liege waffles. The Brussels waffle is a crispy rectangle that’s very airy inside, while a Liege waffle is softer, doughier, and denser.

Who did you meet on your study tour that made an impression on you (and why)?

I met a chocolatier when my class went to take a chocolate-making class. I found it hilarious that, when a student asked him what he thought about Hershey chocolate, he responded, “What’s that?” It really put into perspective that certain products that are universal in the lives of Americans have not even made the slightest dent in European consumption. This can be probably expanded to something symbolic of the whole study abroad experience.

Looking back, what was the highlight of your study tour to Brussels?

The food – and of course, seeing all the EU institutions we had learned about in class in real life was not too shabby. While I have already raved about the salad I had, I haven’t talked about the chocolate and macaron stores that crowded every corner of every square. The food really complemented learning about post-Brexit EU and EU foreign policy very nicely.

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