The month of March has now become the “Journeys season” at Agnes Scott; this newly established tradition has completed its third cycle, and the travelling narratives just get better every year. This time around, members of the Class of 2021 traveled to 12 different destinations including Iceland, Central Europe, Chile, Croatia, Galápagos Island, Ghana, Guatemala, Jamaica, Martinique, Spain, New York City, and New Orleans. Here are some reflections of the Journeys from our international student community:
Rena Tatsumi’21 (Kobe, Japan) in Chile:
Beautiful weather. Colorful streets. Advertisements in Spanish. Different museums that show different aspects of the country. That combined with the topic of the trip, which was “Visual Arts and Poetry in the Context of Dictatorship”, as an English major, I could not think of going anywhere else for this big opportunity I was given through Journeys!
We, as a big group, went to various destinations ranging from climbing the historical Spanish architecture where we could look down on the great view of Santiago, spending time looking at the beautiful artworks in various museums, discovering the bloody and violent truth that happened in what is transformed into a peaceful park today, given the opportunity to interact with famous Chilean poets, and hear the story of what had taken place in the context of dictatorship from an actual detainee, Manolo Paredes.
What made the trip stand out the most for me was the fact that we were NOT traveling like the typical tourists- we traveled often using the metro system like Chileans do, which made us experience Chile closer to how locals live and commute compared to sitting in a bus by ourselves. Last but not least, the food there was absolutely awesome- I still miss it, a lot; and the expense was covered by the college, too!
It is definitely an experience I will never forget, and I hope to be able to return there one day. I am thankful for Agnes Scott for giving me a chance to discover a new country and help me develop a new perspective.
Mihika Rao’21 (Mumbai, India) in Iceland:
As a part of Agnes Scott’s SUMMIT curriculum, I got to visit Iceland and it was one of the most exciting trips I’ve ever had! Everyone seems to know about the breathtaking sight of the Aurora Borealis, but the landscape of Iceland is just as beautiful. The waves splash furiously at the mountains, cutting them deeply and creating handsome edges. The sunset is stretched across the whole sky as if the horizon was waiting, for a shore with its beautiful black sand to break its breathlessness against. The beauty will somehow always surprise you and will keep you wanting to see more, to stay just one more day, to go out in the crisp chilly wind and have some hot chocolate.
We spent about a week in Iceland, commuting between Reykjavik and Vik. We learned about the laws in the small island that makes them the most Feminist country in world, the economic reforms that helped them defeat the 2008 financial crisis, the policies that helps them stay sustainable. Iceland is the epitome of a small open economy with a breathtaking view that attracts numerous tourists.
However, there’s more to Iceland than just beauty. It’s also has Skaer – a kind of yogurt specially made in Iceland, the tastiest and freshest drinking water, puffins and a very educated and intelligent population. This trip to Iceland was insightful and spectacular in equal number of ways. The beauty of the island cannot be described by just words. However, as my friend Bailey McCarl remarked – “Iceland taught me something very important, that is, to properly see the beauty of the Aurora you need to be patient, you need to give your eyes some time to adjust but once you see it, it’s worth all the effort. We must treat life in a similar way. There is so much beauty surrounding us, Be patient. Give yourself some time. Your life is just as exciting and breathtaking as an Aurora is.”
In addition to our international friends, many US students also wrote beautifully about their Journeys experience. Among all, Melody Simmons‘s is my favorite. She wrote movingly about her memories in Martinique, here is a snippet from her writing:
“My main takeaway from this amazing trip is this: travel to places you’ve never heard of. Immerse yourself in a culture you didn’t know existed. Learn from people you didn’t expect to meet. Because when you do, you’ll discover worlds other than your own. You’ll learn that the beauty of the world doesn’t just exist in Paris, London, and New York, but also in the places you’ve never heard of, like the little island of Martinique. And if you ever get the chance to visit the island, drink some guava juice for me, and be thankful for the little world you get to see.”