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

The University of Dallas offers its students many study abroad opportunities during the spring, fall, and summer semesters. The Rome program, an immersive Spain program, and a biblical-archaeological journey in Israel enable enthusiastic scholars to learn more about culture, language, and art alongside their chosen fields of study.

Students like Matthew Ong, Thomas Hall and Jonathan Telander are happy with their decision to take advantage of UD’s unique travel programs.

Ong, a junior student majoring in politics and economics, spoke enthusiastically about his summer experience in Rome. During his time abroad, he traveled through Italy and Greece with a close circle of fellow students.

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

The popular saying “All roads lead to Rome” reflects Ong’s feelings about his travels. He said, “There’s just something magical and powerful about Rome that draws people in.”

He was convinced that the experience had paid off.

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Elsewhere in Europe, Hall, a senior business and dual major in Spanish, took part in UD’s Spain program through the Catholic University of Avila last summer.

“I was completely immersed in the language and culture,” Hall said. “[I could] See things from a different, non-American perspective.”

Telander, a senior psychologist specializing in Spanish, also traveled with the Spain program. He recalled the experience as being academically rigorous, with long language courses and great professors. He spoke affectionately of the Spanish mystics he studied, including Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Avila.

In addition to academics, Fridays were also travel times when students were taken on UCAV-sponsored excursions. For example, one of Telander’s most popular destinations was Alba de Tormes, where relics of Saint Teresa were kept.

Having completed a previous semester in Rome, he contrasted the England-based campus in Rome with his summer in Spain, saying, “When you travel in Spain, it’s really more [of] an immersion process.”

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From a host family to Spanish classes to chatting 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 doesn’t have a slogan similar to Rome’s, and he felt it deserved one.

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

In Israel, four students gained hands-on experience working at an excavation site during the multi-week biblical archeology trip.

Andrew von Weber-Hahnsburg, a senior psychology student, provided his reason for leaving.

“I have always been interested in history and archaeology. It’s always been an interest of mine.”

There, von Weber-Hahnsburg dug at the site and sifted through earth, uncovering millstones and knives during the excavation. However, the most interesting topics of the trip were twofold and had nothing to do with archaeology.

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“I think the most interesting part was just getting to know the people,” he said, “I mean, we lived on a commune.”

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

“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.”

Year after year, students at the University of Dallas have been enriched by the opportunities made available to them to pursue their interests and studies. The trips to Rome, Spain and Israel offer extraordinary experiences that will enrich the lives of travelers long into the future.

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