1. Why did you choose this particular location to study abroad?
I am a biomedical studies major and there has not been a single semester where I had not taken a science course so far. I decided I deserved a small break after finishing organic chemistry so for this reason as well as my love for learning new languages I decided to take on a Language and Culture program. I chose Lisbon, Portugal because Portuguese is extremely similar to Spanish and I knew I would pick it up fast which means I can put my language skills into use everyday. Apart from this, it is very easy to travel in Europe and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to visit so many popular cities and countries this fall.
2. What has been your favorite meal?
My favorite meal so far is actually a very popular Portuguese dish. It’s called bacalhau, or cod in English. We had this meal in a rooftop restaurant on the very top of a concert hall. We attended an very nice classical music concert before we had dinner and then headed upstairs. In the center of the table was a very delicious bread and then we got cauliflower soup which was incredibly tasty. For our main course we enjoyed Portuguese style cod with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables underneath and on top it had an very creamy cheese with toasted breadcrumbs. For dessert we had vanilla and strawberry ice cream with a cookie shell as the cup. This was by far my favorite meal.
3. How does your major tie into your study abroad plans (internships, classes, languages, etc.)?
My study abroad experience does not tie into my major. I am fulfilling general requirements from Susquehanna like Literature and Ethics. I am learning a new language which can really expand your possibilities in terms of future internships or jobs.
4. What do you miss most about Susquehanna while you are away?
I'm on the Swimming and Diving team and unfortunately there are no diving pools near where I am and I must confess I really miss practicing and competing. I constantly find myself daydreaming about diving.
5. What do you anticipate missing most about your study away location?
I am going to miss how easy it is to move around without a car. Everything you need is accessible mostly by foot. Not just in Lisbon but I can even go to a different country so easily on a train or bus. In the US there are trains and buses too but they are way easier to find and use in Europe.
6. What is the most interesting custom you have witnessed while abroad?
Something that I found incredibly shocking is that if two Portuguese people have a baby they can only choose names for the baby from a list. If the name is not on the list they can’t name the baby that name. The list changes and is updated every so often. Also, If you are Portuguese and you marry someone from any different country you can name your children anything. This was very interesting and shocking since in the US you can name anyone almost anything.
7. If you could describe your experience so far in one word, what would it be?
8. What was the most meaningful interaction you have had with a local?
When I first arrived in Portugal I was extremely nervous about meeting my host family. I knew nothing about them except their names before I arrived. I brought a Puerto Rican cookbook as a present without even knowing if they cooked at all but it is something I really enjoy. Once I unpacked I gave my “host mom” the cookbook and soon learned that she not only cooks but loves cooking. She thanked me for the book and then we went to the kitchen and she taught me how to use every single utensil or gadget in there. I was so relieved and happy to know that if I get home sick I can cook with my host mom to feel more at home.
9. Have you had the opportunity to explore your city?
Where have you ventured, and why did you select those places? I've been able to explore a lot of Lisbon. Lisbon is not a huge city and the access we get to the metro and buses is outstanding. There are so many places with so many statues and monuments. There are cathedrals everywhere and in lots of areas, ruins from the romans have been dug up. I've visited so many Lisbon history museums in so many different areas from going on class trips. We've visited castles and monasteries that still hold the bodies of some of the most recognized people in Portuguese history. King Manuel and his wife Maria, Vaco da Gama, Camões, and many others were buried in the Jerónimos Monastery in Belem. I've gotten off at more than half of the metro stations and explored different areas and I've seen some amazing views. After all Lisbon is the city of seven hills!
10.What is one thing you would tell students planning to study abroad in your location?
Don't ever stop moving! There is always something interesting to see. Sometimes after school I’ll just walk in a different direction that I hadn't before and find amazing things. Lisbon is covered in statues and green areas and parks and all you have to do to find them is walk. Take the metro and get off somewhere you haven't before. Even if you think you've seen it all, you probably haven't. Also: they tend to serve seafood whole so be very careful not to swallow bones.