Summers in Spain and Rome: The UD student’s time abroad

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The University of Dallas provides its students with many study-abroad opportunities during the spring, fall and summer semesters. The Rome Program, an immersive Spain program and a Biblical Archaeological trip in Israel all allow enthusiastic scholars to learn more about culture, language and art alongside their chosen areas of study. 

Students like Matthew Ong, Thomas Hall and Jonathan Telander are pleased with their choice to utilize UD’s unique travel programs.

Ong, a junior politics and economics major, spoke enthusiastically about his Summer Rome experience. During his time abroad, he traveled across Italy and Greece with a tight group of fellow students. 

When asked about his favorite part of the trip, he answered Delphi, saying, “It was probably the most beautiful place I’ve been in my life.”

The common saying, ”All roads lead to Rome,” mirrors Ong’s sentiments regarding his travels. He said, “There’s just something magical and powerful about Rome that draws people to it.” 

He was confident that the experience was well worthwhile.

In another part of Europe last summer, Hall, a senior business and Spanish double major, participated in UD’s Spain Program through the Catholic University of Avila.

“I was fully immersed into the language and culture,” Hall said. “[I could] see things in kind of a different, non-American perspective.” 

Telander, a senior psychology major with a concentration in Spanish, also traveled with the Spain Program. He recalled the experience as academically rigorous, with long language classes and great professors. He fondly spoke of the Spanish mystics he studied, including St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. 

Alongside academics, there was also time for travel on Fridays, when the students were taken on trips sponsored by UCAV. For instance, one of Telander’s favorite destinations was Alba de Tormes, which held relics of St. Teresa.

After completing a previous semester in Rome, he contrasted the English-based Rome campus with his summer in Spain, saying, “When you’re traveling in Spain, it really is more [of] an immersion process.”

From a host family to Spanish classes to conversations with friends, the romantic language seeped into every aspect of life during the program. It is clear that this experience brought him closer to his goal of being bilingual.

Recalling the phrase “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” Telander was asked why Spain does not have a similar slogan to Rome’s and he reckoned it deserved one.

“It’s kind of a given when you’re in Spain, you definitely want to do what they’re doing,” he said. “It’s a very welcoming, fun, lively culture.”

In Israel, through the Biblical Archaeology trip spanning multiple weeks, four students gained hands-on experience while working on a dig site. 

Andrew von Weber-Hahnsburg, a senior psychology major, provided his reason for going.

 “I’ve always been into history and archaeology. It’s always been an interest of mine.”

While there, von Weber-Hahnsburg dug on the site and sifted through dirt, discovering millstones and knives during the dig. However, the most interesting subjects on the trip were twofold and unrelated to archaeology.

“I think the most interesting thing about it was just meeting the people,” he said, “I mean, we lived in a commune.”

The culture was unique, with its own joys and tensions. Along with digging in the dirt, von Weber-Hahnsburg took advantage of the opportunity to explore. The students traveled to parks and castles nearby. 

“We went to Herod’s Palace,” von Weber-Hansburg said of his favorite place, “in this one place, in this one mountain, it’s a rainforest.” 

Students at the University of Dallas have been enriched year after year by the opportunities made available to serve their interests and studies. The Rome, Spain and Israel trips provide exceptional experiences that will continue to enrich travelers’ lives long into the future.

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