Voices of Trinity: World Travelers Return!
Twelve Trinity students went abroad soon after the end of the spring semester, and some have already returned with wonderful reports of their experiences. That’s Nursing Major Diamond Moore ’21 enjoying an evening at the Eiffel Tower in Paris! Below are the first three stories, and I will add to this group of reports later in the summer.
We are deeply grateful to our partners at CIEE, the Council for International Educational Exchange, for supporting Trinity students with remarkable staff advice and direction, grants and scholarships, and wonderful academic programs. Trinity is very pleased to be part of the CIEE initiative for MSIs (Minority Serving Institutions) and as is clear from our student reports (as was the case last summer as well), the opportunity to go abroad is truly life-changing. Special thanks to CIEE team members Kyndall Cox, Stacy B. Wood, Keshia Abraham and all at CIEE, and special thanks as well to our outstanding Trinity team members especially Kenya Kirkland and Kathelon Toliver who handled myriad details.
Diamond Moore ’21, Nursing Major: Paris
My study abroad experience in Paris, France was amazing and more than what I expected. When I originally chose Paris as my place to study, I did not know what I was getting myself into. However, I am more than grateful for being provided the opportunity to study abroad.
While living in Paris for a month, I was able to see more differences than similarities whether it was the food, standards, style of fashion, language, or even the style of living arrangements. I was able to visit the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Castles, houses that previous Kings lived in, etc. Also, some food that I tried consisted of croissants, crepes, waffles, macaroons, banana split, cheesecake, churros, pasta, salads, salmon, and various other desserts and dishes.
Furthermore, Paris is ahead by six hours, so time difference affected me when I first arrived because I was jet lagged. However, I managed to adapt even though it took me three to four days to get it together. I truly enjoyed myself to the point where I was not ready to return to the United States. I would recommend every student to study abroad because there are some people who cannot leave the United States.
(Above: Trinity students Diamond Moore, Sharron-Rose Kisalu, Shanice Cephas and Youssra Khalil in Paris)
When one goes aboard, it gives them a chance to embrace their self in a new culture where the perspective on the world is more than certain to alter. Thank you for allowing me to travel outside the United States where I was able to involve myself in a new culture.
Sabrina Ortiz-Santos ’20, Communication Major: Buenos Aires
Staying a month in Buenos Aires will always be an unforgettable experience for me. As my junior year was coming to an end, I feared that I’d never have the chance to study abroad. When I gained the scholarship to go to Buenos Aires from Trinity, I was extremely happy and anxious since I was going to able to fulfill that specific goal of mine. With that, I learned so much being in a new country in South America. I was really able to immerse myself in a Latin American culture that differs from my own. I learned the ways in which people speak, eat, and indulge in activities. One of my favorite activities or “pasatiempos” from Buenos Aires was drinking mate (hot tea) with my friends, and my film professor. In Argentina, drinking mate is something that is shared between family and friends, and I love that Argentinians have a way of spending time together like that. I was very lucky to dine in two parilla restaurants, and try Argentine meat. It was delicious! I was also very lucky to have meet other people in my program.
For the CIEE Open Campus which was the one I was in there was a total of four students. We really got to know each other, and become really close in a short amount of time. I am thankful that I was able to learn about Argentine cinema, and the history be hide the dictatorship in Argentina.
In the class we also had the privilege of interviewing two Argentinian directors: Benjamin Naishtat of the film “ROJO” and Ivo Aichenbaum of the film “The Last March”. Being able to study Argentine cinema in addition to these interviews with the directors allowed me to learn about a history that I wasn’t aware of before. I appreciated that for each of the interviews the directors allowed us to ask questions, but also asked us questions about the current political situation in the U.S. This not only created a comfortable space between us (students) and director, but it was very respectful and we all gained knowledge from that experience.
As a communications major, the class that taught me the importance of being mindful of other people’s cultures/experiences a part from my own was Intercultural Communications. Even though I communicate every day, I was definitely able to put my intercultural communication skills to the test while studying abroad. Prior to my departure, I made sure I did some research on Argentine culture. Because I did this, the immersion into a different culture was less challenging, and it shaped my experience into a positive. When communication would get tricky with others, I made sure to ask questions, or clarifications in order to have effective interactions.
Shanice Cephas ’19, English Major: Paris
Receiving my bachelor’s degree then stepping on a plane from Washington DC to embrace the city of Paris, France is a feeling that is hard to describe. You hear about the beauty of Paris. You secretly grow envious as you sit through stories of visits to the Mona Lisa. You imagine the feeling of seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time. In your head, you disregard the advice that says “it is impossible to walk the entire Palace of Versailles in one day” to instead envision the perfect schedule that guarantees you a walk through Paris’s greatest achievement in French 17th century art. These were just my hopes that I never believed could become my reality. Then, Trinity Washington University, the place that has sculpted who I am as a scholar and a believer turned my Paris aspirations into ones of actuality. Being awarded Trinity’s study abroad grant was the beginning of an unbelievable experience.
Never in a million years would I have thought I would embark on my very own trips to all the places I heard stories about. Like a true tourist, I explored all the places Paris is known for. I laid on the grass under the Eiffel Tower as it lit up, then stood in line for three hours to enjoy the view from the top of one of Paris’s tallest structures. As a true tourist, I made a joke about French fries as I took a stroll down Paris’s Moulin Rouge district. Getting the tourist sites out the way made it easier to focus on the course I took while in Paris. The excitement of traveling to the different districts in and outside Paris was matched with the course’s deep dive into Paris’s rich architectural history. From this point on, I can say I studied in Paris. I do not take that statement lightly. This is not an experience allowed to many students. Trinity Washington University provided me with not only the courage but the support to have a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Trinity has also instilled the importance of sisterhood within me, and I did not forget that while abroad. I was able to take this trip to Paris alongside another recipient of Trinity’s study abroad grant, Youssra Khalil. Finding commonalities among one another and spending everyday enjoying being lost in Paris are moments we will share forever. Though unlikely, if we never see each other again, we will always have Paris. Traveling miles to find the perfect Middle Eastern restaurant that reminds Youssra of being back home in Egypt gifted us both with an opportunity to appreciate our cultural differences and similarities. While abroad, we leaned on each other as we learned and fell in love with the city of Paris. The bond we have formed is only one thread of the sisterhood that Trinity has woven for generations.
On the eight hour flight back home, I thought about the stories I was always told about Paris. Now that I have taken the trip for myself, I am no longer amazed by the stories I have heard but by the storytellers’ ability to put the Paris experience into words. That is hard to do until you have stepped off the plane and breathed in the cigarette-ridden French air. So while now I can tell my own stories, I do not believe a simply story would do the experience of Paris any justice.
Sharon-Rose Kisalu ’22: Paris
When I arrived in Paris, I was really surprised about how crowded it was. The airport was packed with tourists and residents, although it was only 7 am! The traffic in Paris had also caught my attention, and it is unbelievably ridiculous! It all makes sense why most Parisians prefer to take the metro rather than be stuck in traffic (which is common at almost any time of the day). The food in Paris was served considerable in smaller portions than what we are served here in America, and this made it really difficult for me from feeling full. I would either order the same food twice or go home and cook for myself a bigger meal. I really enjoyed eating crepes and baguettes.
There are a lot of historical places in Paris, France in general. I was surprised to see the amount of castles that there are, as well as the amount of museums found throughout the city. It is also very interesting to see how they are modernizing Paris by adding skyscrapers and apartments with intricate designs, and by also incorporating nature in the midst of the whole city environment.
Despite the cluster of urbanization, there are a lot of beautiful gardens that are peaceful and open to the public. I also had the opportunity to visit the Normandy region, which is in the countryside of France. It was definitely a break from the whole rush-hour vibe in Paris. It’s quiet and very green with more homes and a farm-lifestyle.
I also really enjoyed the class we had. It really educated me on the different architectural designs that the Europeans invented. The study abroad program was also very organized, and the teacher was extremely knowledgeable on the subject. I really enjoyed this experience and I would love to experience it again in many different areas, and I would definitely recommend someone else to experience this. It was an eye opener because I got to really experience how other people on the other side of the world live on a daily basis.