Photo: Jessica Alexander

OP-ED: A lifetime of history in one summer

4 mins read

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to study in three countries as part of QC Study Abroad. The program was entitled, “History of Art: A Thousand Years of European Highlights.” From July 7 to Aug. 16, 2019, I was able to travel to Florence, Italy, Utrectht, the Netherlands and Germany to learn about different time periods in history. I started the program learning about the Renaissance in Italy, moved to the Dutch Golden Age in the Netherlands and finished by learning about both post-World War I and post-World War II art in Germany. The reason I chose this program was because I had never before taken an art history class. I wanted to learn more about art because I live in New York City, a city with so many museums dedicated to great art. Despite living in a city full of art, I felt like I couldn’t fully appreciate the pieces because I had no idea what I was looking at. After this trip, I am definitely making time to visit more museums. I wanted to experience as much as possible during my summer, and by doing Study Abroad, I was privileged to experience three different cultures within six weeks! 

Studying abroad was an experience I recommend for everyone. Every day I took walking tours and saw famous artworks I had never dreamed I would see in real life. I went to the Vatican City in Rome, the Hague in the Netherlands, the Alte Nationalgalerie in Germany and so many different places, I could barely keep track of it all. Each city I went to amazed me with how much they reminded me of my home here in New York and to see the unique culture of each place. I will say, I think New York still has the best pizza.

Not only did I experience new cultures, I got to meet people from California, Florida, Texas, Frankford, London, Thailand, Paris, Utrecht and Hong Kong! It was so interesting learning about the people that I was traveling with. I went swimming and hung out with friends at night. My friends and I would stay up late in order to watch movies in our dorm rooms; we would cook dinner together and just talk, forming bonds in the long run. 

When I got back to New York, I was already planning my next trip somewhere else. As cliché as it sounds, the memories that I made with my friends are what I will keep with me forever. I will always cherish the late night talks we had. Staying up until two in the morning in order to finish papers, hanging out the first night in Florence in the library playing “Never Have I Ever,” cooking dinner together, going night-canoeing or just walking around for hours. Thank you to everyone who made my trip abroad so much more memorable! 

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