Monday, April 7, 2014

Studying Abroad: Living What You Learn

Hola from Granada, amigos! Last weekend, my entire Fordham in Granada program united (outside of our class together) for a weekend trip to Portugal, Sevilla, and Cordoba. We visited three separate cities in Portugal, where oddly enough most people prefer to hear you speak English than Spanish, and then the two Spanish cities. Being together as a group is always fun, but my favorite part was experiencing places that, before the weekend, I had only ever seen in textbooks or powerpoint slides.

The most breathtaking real life visits were to the Chapel of Bones at the Church of Carmen in Faro, Portugal and the famous mosque in Cordoba. The chapel was built out of the bones of monks from the associated monastery. It served as a way to create more cemetery space and was also a very much the fashion in southern Portugal in the late 1700s. The Great Mosque dates from the 7th century and has housed both Catholic churches and Islamic mosques. After the Catholic reconquest of Spain in the late Middle Ages, a church was actually built in the center of the mosque and it is still in use today.

You may think that bringing history to life is limited to students who study abroad, but the truth is that Fordham is surrounded by history, and Fordham professors know how to make the best use of it, and I’m not just referring to art professors who go to the Met. We’ve got cloisters, zoos, museums of all types, opera houses, art galleries, national parks, and historical houses to name a few. Fordham actually offers courses on New York City—Fall 2014 offers new views of the city from the points of view of English and Political Science. So New York City is indeed Fordham’s campus (as Father McShane likes to say), but so are Granada, London, Pretoria, Shanghai, and all of the other places you can study abroad during your four years here. 

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