Letters From Abroad: May Term

Letters from Transylvania students that are currently traveling abroad.


Greetings from Ballyvaughan, County Clare, Ireland. We are working in residence at the Burren College of Art, a tiny but artistically inspiring campus on the grounds of a 16th century castle. The village we’re staying in is small; the lone gas station hosts the post office, cows outnumber Euro cars and we’re a 10-minute walk from all the pubs. But its absolutely lovely. My favorite part of the trip has been our visit to the Cliffs of Moher, the stunning 700 foot cliffs off the west coast of Ireland. Currently, we’re in Galway and are headed for the Aran Islands, indigenous coastal island dwellings that pride themselves on preserving traditional Irish culture. I’m glad I was able to travel this May Term because I’ve met a lot of interesting people (ever try to decipher an Irish-speaking native’s version of English?), heard amazing pub music, seen and walked amongst sites that are hundreds of years old and even learned a Celtic dance. I’ll send some loving Irish luck back to Transy.
—Liz Lane, Junior

Spain and France

Hola Transy! Hello from Spain! We’re sitting here in Burgos, in the middle of Spanish wine country. Our Australian tour guide uses his superb Spanish abilities to help us learn how to order food in restaurants and get to know the culture of each of the cities we visit. Today we traveled to an abby that has been turned into a vineyard and learned about the latest technology in wine making. We’ve had an interesting time trying to use our limited knowledge of Spanish to order tapas (Spanish appetizers), but it is a phenomenal learning experience to realize that English is not the “default” language around the world. After the winery, we traveled to Catedral de Burgos, Spain’s third largest cathedral. It is a Gothic cathedral that was founded in 1221. Its history in tandem with its architectural diversity served as a way for us to truly experience the multifaceted nature of Spain.

Once we get back, we will definitely notice the lack of bread and wine in our diet—we get it with every meal! The Spanish diet is also different in that we eat a huge lunch late in the afternoon and a lighter dinner later on. The people lead more slow-paced and have less stressful lives. This May Term trip has proven to be both a learning experience and a great break for the daily stresses we are used to back home.

We can’t wait to see what France has to offer!

—Anna Rush, Junior, Dr. Seebach, Dr. Brown and the rest of the class

Greece and Turkey

Hello Transy! Greetings from NAUPLIO! I’m here for the Greece and Turkey trip studying the Ancient Polis. Greece is absolutely beautiful. It has been so nice to get away from a busy semester and escape to Europe for four weeks. However, do not believe the rumours about May Term trips as an easy credit for bar-hopping; we sometimes have class for 10 hours a day. Despite the long hours, the class has been really fun. We are studying the history and philosophy of the ancient Greek city-state, but the underlying question of the course is “What is the Good Life?” This means we sit in ancient ruins, looking at the Acropolis in the distance, or the ocean from a cliff in Santorini, discussing how each community constructed their city to allow their citizens to pursue full and meaningful lives. It has been pretty amazing. My favorite part of the trip was presenting a site report on Plato’s “Laws” at Plato’s Academy. It took forever to reach the site on the outside of Athens (we should totally be getting exercise science credit for this!), but once we reached the spot I got goosebumps teaching at the same spot as Plato; I am not worthy. Studying abroad for May Term has been such a wonderful experience for each of us. I am experiencing the history and culture in a much more profound way than I would if I were reading from a text book in Haupt 102. Our class has formed a close-knit community and each day presents a new adventure through the ancient world. We of course miss the excitement of Play Term, but I know the plane ride home will be hard. Enjoy Kentucky and see you in two weeks when we return to turn Transy into a Polis!

—Becky Goncharoff, Sophomore


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