Reflections on Four Years at Goucher College: Travel

"A storm blows through the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina Monday, January 18, 2010."

Some of the best experiences Goucher College made possible for me were ones that happened thousands of miles away. Given Goucher’s international sensibility and study abroad requirement, I had many opportunities for travel, both nationally and internationally.

To fulfill my requirement, I studied in Buenos Aires, Argentina in January 2010 for a four-week intensive Spanish language program. What a trip. Living with a wonderful host family during my stay there, I was immersed in Argentine culture and learned the value of living without some of the luxuries that are easy to take for granted back home. I also left with a group of close friends from around the United States.

In retrospect, I wish I had been able to go abroad for an entire semester. It would have been impossible to do without missing a tennis season, but had I stayed there for three or four months, I’m confident that I would have achieved fluency in Spanish. That still remains a goal of mine.

I also visited a good friend of mine in Germany, traveled to Poland and the Czech Republic, and participated in a Taglit-Birthright trip to Israel this past January.

Finally, tennis team Spring break training trips took me to Virginia, North Carolina, and California, and I had many shorter visits to other parts of the country throughout the past four years. 

There’s always lots of discussion about Goucher’s abroad requirements. There are certainly challenges to working around 1,400 plus students’ travel plans. In my view, though, this is one of the best things Goucher has going for it. 

Journalism from Egypt: Inspiring against hostile odds

 

"Demonstrators create a human roadblock in front of a police van in Berlin, Germany's Potsdamer Platz, Thursday, July 20, 2009. A rally was held to protest German police and government involvement."

A few hours ago, I wrote some thoughts about this semester’s first issue of The Quindecim, our student newspaper at Goucher College. You can read the entire post here, but here’s what I had to say about our efforts to get that paper to press:

Three straight nights of layout, tough decision making, and early-morning coffee breaks made for a pretty tough week. Sometimes it makes me wonder why I do this in the first place.

Since then, I’ve read a few reports that immediately made me rethink what I wrote. Here is why.

This week, more than 100 journalists working in Egypt were attacked, according to a Baltimore Sun article. News crews have been assaulted, detained, threatened, and intimidated by thugs and looters. In some cases, they’ve had their equipment seized.

A tough week? While we sat in our nicely decorated office under strands of jovial, colorful Christmas lights, here is what photojournalists in Egypt were looking at. While we listened to some good music as we laid out our newspaper, here is how CNN’s Anderson Cooper had to broadcast his report.

Yet despite being confronted with such disturbing attempts to stop the world from being informed, these journalists, cooped up in their tiny rooms and underground posts, are still finding ways to get their information out.

I took the above photograph on the outskirts of a somewhat violent protest I stumbled into in Berlin several years ago. I included it with this post because I still remember the rush I had trying to use pictures as information to make some sense out of an otherwise  chaotic situation.

That’s what journalists are doing in Egypt right now. It’s a humbling reminder and a heroic collective effort. Your thoughts?