My study abroad trips to Portugal were life changing. I still have vivid memories of the refreshing ocean breeze, and I can still taste the bacalhau.
The summers I studied abroad in Portugal were transformative experiences that influenced my subsequent academic and career achievements. The program was the perfect opportunity to take anthropological methods and theories and apply them to the real life experiences.
I became interested in the Portugal program as freshman taking Portuguese and Anthropology courses. I didn't know much about Anthropology or Portugal itself, but jumped at the chance to study abroad and practice my budding language skills.
I discovered the Portuguese study program as a 21-year-old undergraduate anthropology student at the University of Louisville. Growing up in a working class suburb of Chicago and later moving to the suburbs of Louisville, overseas travel and the study of culture was completely out of my realm. That first summer in Portugal challenged my entire worldview, and while it was shocking it was one of my ultimate transformative experiences.
I was lucky to participate in the University of Louisville's study abroad trip to Portugal. The course we took overseas taught us of the impact of ecology on politics and life in different regions of the country.
Although I wasn’t always excited about the classes and homework assignments throughout the trip, I look back and can appreciate how closely our daily experiences were intertwined with the curriculum. We were reading, writing, and analyzing the very things we saw every day walking around the small town of Miranda do Douro. We applied anthropological theory to our observations of the sites we visited and events we attended as a group.