There is a growing need in the workplace for individuals who are able to live and work in an intercultural environment and who can speak a second language. What better way to set yourself apart from the competition than by showing future employers how globally-minded you are! In this blog post, two Fanshawe College students reflect on their recent semester studying abroad. If you're interesting, check out more opportunities online here.
Hi! We're Carys McCann and Troy Cooper, with an exciting story of gorgeous sights, ruins of civilizations past, persistent nuns and the best pizza we've ever had. Together, with our dear friend Cody, we departed on a life-changing trip across the Atlantic Ocean to tour Italy and Greece with the TRAV-1034 course. In tandem with EF Tours, we were provided an opportunity to visit sites that have always fascinated us!
We both study General Arts and Science, and met in our first-semester history course, led by one of the school's most passionate professors, Jaclyn Smith-Wilson. We learned more about the trip and were eventually encouraged to join our mutual friend Cody on the journey to visit the ruins and sites of some of our most beloved historical events. Our initial concern was financing the trip. Eurotrips are typically quite expensive, especially for college students. That's where Fanshawe stepped in to assist. Along with every other member of our trip, we received a travel bursary from the Fanshawe International office that covered approximately $1,500 of our trip! All that we needed to do was to sign our names and student numbers and voila! Fanshawe to the rescue! With Fanshawe's assistance, our dream was that much more achievable!
A few of our personal favourite sites were the Roman Colosseum, the Circus Maximus, the monasteries of Meteora as well as the beautiful and vibrant streets and markets of Athens. At the Colosseum, we learned that the wealthy owner of Tod's, an Italian fashion brand, in cooperation with a local Italian preservation initiative, had donated millions of dollars to help restore the famous historical site. Some of these efforts included washing the high walls, cleaning them of dirt and leaving them with a remarkable shine. The old Roman Circus Maximus, built not during the republic nor empire but during the period of kings, was the first and largest stadium in all of antiquity. The Circus today, though not left standing, can be visited with its activity area acting as a park amidst shopping centres. In Meteora were a series of small monasteries perched high up on rocky mountains that were nearly inaccessible. At one of these monasteries, Carys was provided a skirt from a very animated nun as per the cultural tradition of the area! It wasn't particularly fashionable, but that skirt will be one of the highlights of the trip!
The streets of Athens were filled with some of the most lively and vibrant people we'd ever met! The roads were old cobblestone, the buildings were antique and the storefronts and cafes possessed an alluring and enchanting front that completely shook our preconceptions of the area. The markets were adorned with beautiful ivy and small vendors that sold everything from gladiatorial armour, to the most exquisite vintage stores we'd ever experienced. Only a few minutes from our hotel was a small pizza joint that had one of the most incredible pizzas we'd ever eaten. In fact, we brought the pizza back to the hotel to share with our group on the rooftop, overlooking the city and the acropolis.
The trip was situated perfectly between our academic and personal pursuits. It correlated with our Ancient Civilization courses taught by Chris Montieth and Jaclyn Smith-Wilson, and we would often find ourselves gasping at something we'd learned about only months – even weeks – prior. The experience will forever stay with us as we plan to move forward with studying history in post-secondary, and hopefully secure roles in the field of history.
Through travelling abroad with one another, not to mention the family we created throughout the trip, we were able to experience places and sights we had only dreamed of previously. The trip created an environment ripe with learning, bonding and amazing food! Fanshawe's incredible itinerary provided us with a ten-day long experience that we will hold dearly. We'd love to thank Fanshawe for the opportunity to learn and travel as a way to earn credits.
Carthago delenda est,
Carys and Troy (and Cody!)