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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

From cathedrals to canyons: Summer study abroad recap

This summer, students traveled and learned about the culture and history in Florence, London and the National Parks. One place students visited was the Grand Canyon. (Photo courtesy of Caroline McParland ’23)

Over the summer, students ventured far out from Easton on trips sponsored by Lafayette study abroad programs. Some viewed Italian cathedrals over espresso, while others stayed domestic to explore the canyons and valleys of the U.S. National Parks.


Liam Thompson ’24 and Becca Mitchell ’24 in Florence. (Photo courtesy of Liam Thompson ’24)

13 students spent four weeks in Florence, Italy learning about the language, history and art within the region. The trip was led by Art Professor Eric Hupe and Philosophy Professor Alessandro Giovannelli.

Students witnessed first-hand the importance of art within Florence, exploring places such as the Uffizi Gallery, the Basilica di Santa Croce and the Duomo di Milano.

The trip was a way for students to immerse themselves in Italian culture. Though he was still learning Italian during the trip, Liam Thompson ’24 spoke to many Italian residents who took him under their wings.

“Knowing that I could navigate myself through a foreign country with a language I don’t know was very affirmative,” Thompson said. “My favorite part was talking to people from different backgrounds, and their opinions of the U.S. and how it impacted their own life.”

Another highlight for Thompson was the food. From espresso to fresh pastries, the Italian cuisine is something that he will not forget.

“I did not have a single bad meal [in Italy], and even the ‘bad meals’ were better than anything here,” Thompson said.

National Parks 

Caroline McParland ’23 exploring the Grand Canyon. (Photo courtesy of Caroline McParland ’23)

For three weeks, 18 students ventured through national parks in Arizona and Utah. The course was led by Geology and Geophysics Professor Lawrence Malinconico and Geology Department Head Professor David Sunderlin.

Students stayed on campus for two days to learn the basics of geology and then hit the road to Arizona. From there, the group made their way to the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Staircase–Escalante, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Mesa Verde, Shiprock, Meteor Crater and Petrified Forest.

Caroline McParland ’23 said that she enjoyed being able to immerse herself in what she was learning through the field-intensive nature of the trip.

“On our five-day rafting trip on the Colorado River, it was easy for me to memorize all of the rock layers of the Grand Canyon, how and when the rocks were formed and what minerals and fossils were within them because I was constantly reminded every time I looked up from the bottom of the canyon,” McParland said.

McParland also expressed that the trip provided great bonding opportunities and memories through traveling from place to place with all the students in a van.

“I didn’t expect the travel time to be so much fun,” McParland said. “We drove from park to park in two big white vans, in which we listened to 70s rock music, engaged in the required reading for the class, studied from our field notebooks and the photos we took, and snacked or dozed to sleep together after long hikes.”


(From top to bottom, left to right) Emily Tesbir ’24, Sam Scott ’23, Olivia Bamford ’24 and Anna Schmidt ’24 in London. (Photo courtesy of Emily Tesbir ’24)

In the United Kingdom, led by Professor Brett Hendrickson and Economics Professor Christopher Ruebeck, students spent eight weeks in London comparing and contrasting the U.K. and U.S. healthcare systems. Each student also got the opportunity to conduct an internship that pertained to an area of their interest.

For Emily Tesbir ’24, the trip was a non-stop immersion in new aspects of London culture while also trying to balance class and the internship.

Tesbir said that her favorite part was “being in the city and having everything at your fingertips.”

Throughout the trip, she became more comfortable going to museums and bookstores by herself than she was navigating Lafayette’s small campus. According to Tesbir, being in the big city was “easier than going to Upper by myself.”

Sam Scott ’23 had similar sentiments. She walked away from the trip having grown a strong familiarity with the city of London. A highlight for her was visiting a coffee shop combined with a movie theater, which she described as a multiverse.

“I would definitely recommend going in general, but with this program, studying in London is really cool,” Scott said.

Thania Hernandez ’25 contributed reporting.

Disclaimer: Caroline McParland ’23 is the sports editor of The Lafayette and did not contribute writing or editing to this article.

Correction 9/2/2022: A previous version of this article stated that Chaplain Alexandra Hendrickson led the London study abroad program. It was actually Professor Brett Hendrickson that led the program.

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Bernadette Russo, Culture Editor

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