Hawaii: Harmony

Submitted by Maddison Alt on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences…

This week had some of my favorite activities yet. We went on another boat excursion to Kealakekua Bay, and in my opinion, it was the coolest snorkel outing on the program. The water was crystal clear, and the corals were incredibly tall and complex. It was like swimming through a little city. Seeing an absolutely massive school of goatfish just feet below you, and coming up to swim in the middle of a school of needlefish, made me feel like I was just part of the environment. The sheer diversity of the fish here was mind-blowing, and it was interesting to swim through warm or cold spots caused by freshwater mountain runoff combining with the salt water. It makes for very blurred visibility in one spot, and completely clear water in the next. The one thing I wanted to see more than anything was an octopus, and right at the end, I got to achieve that goal. It was the first time snorkeling where I didn’t feel like an invader, I felt like part of the ecosystem—just letting the currents take me between coral towers and over huge groups of yellow tang or black triggerfish.

This week was the last week, and as heartbroken as I am to leave, I feel like I learned even more than I expected in the two classes I took. But the most important lesson, learned in this very unique classroom, was how to truly live in harmony with my surroundings.

Italy: First and Last

Submitted by Jake Schneider on the 2022 winter session program in Italy sponsored by the Department of Philosophy…

The very first and very last thing I saw in Rome was St. Peter’s Square. St. Peter’s Square was hands down my favorite spot we were able to see in Italy. The beautiful architecture of the entire plaza is simply amazing, not to mention the incredible amounts of history involved. St. Peter’s Square is located in Vatican City, where many people would gather to see the Pope give his blessing for hundreds of years. We also toured St. Peter’s Basilica and were able to embrace the incredible Renaissance architecture while also climbing the dome and seeing all of Rome from way high up!


Hawaii: Mauna Kea Volcano

Submitted by Julia Kausel on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences…
Aloha! One of the highlights from this week was visiting Mauna Kea Volcano. This was a really cool experience to witness the beauty of the Island. Many people on our program went to the volcano and hiked to the viewing spot right before sunset. Together, we watched the sunset from above the clouds which is something I had never done before. I was really surprised by how vibrant the colors of sunset are once the sun sets below the line of clouds, I always assumed the most vibrant colors were where the sun was.
After sunset, we stayed at the high elevation and watched as the stars came out. It was amazing seeing how vibrant the stars were. We were able to stay at the viewing point and identify all of the constellations that were visible. I really enjoyed pairing what I learned in class about the topography of the island with all of the plants and animals we saw climbing in elevation up to the viewing point!

Hawaii: Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

Submitted by Megan Perdue on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences…

We have just gotten back from Hawai’i… and I want to go back already. While in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawai’i, we went to a botanical garden rain forest. I was completely obsessed with the Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden. The flowers, trees and wildlife here were gorgeous. We looked at many different plants and learned about their origin and properties. I loved how vibrant the colors were. After spending a long time at the gardens, we drove to Akaka Falls State Park. Here, we walked through a trail that had lookout spots as we got closer and closer to the huge waterfall. We all took pictures, and I took one “drinking” the waterfall.

Italy: Recreating a Special Photo

Submitted by Lydia Fimmano on the 2022 winter session program in Italy sponsored by the Department of Philosophy…

When you think of Rome, you think of the Colosseum so obviously this was a site that my friends and I were very excited to see. Early in the trip, we all watched Gladiator together to get ourselves excited about seeing the Colosseum and to get a fresh understanding of what kind of events used to happen there. Touring it was unreal and our sweet tour guide Teresa was very informative and told us all about the structure and how it came to be. The beauty and complexity of the Colosseum sums up exactly what studying in Rome is like. Everything you see is so historic and you just stare in awe wondering how these structures were built hundreds and even thousands of years ago. This was a highlight of the program for me. Something that was very special to me was recreating a picture that my Dad had taken of my Mom in front of the Colosseum with her two friends. My trip mates helped me find the exact spot and two even jumped in to pose as my Mom’s friends from the picture taken about 31 years ago. It was so exciting to stand in front of such an amazing structure in the same place as my Mom had stood years ago. Rome really is the eternal city.


Hawaii: Missing the Aloha Spirit

Submitted by Abubakarr Bah on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics…

Now that I’m back home, I do miss the Aloha spirit. When I was in Hawaii, everyone seemed chipper from the tourists to the locals. It could be due to the warm weather, but everyone was nice and friendly. Even my classmates, we all got along well like a family. I could chat up a local cashier or waiter and they would give me suggestions on shops, talk about who’s winning the NFL games right now, or ask about my experiences on the island. The island was teeming with life. Now back in Delaware, I barely even see people. It’s cold and nobody wants to talk to strangers. The only sound you hear is cars going super loud down the highway. Even at stores the cashiers say have a good day, but they all seemed annoyed and ready to clock out. It makes you really appreciate the quiet peaceful time you have when visiting a new place.

Having class on a field near a beach with one of my classmates explaining a topic.


Italy: Worldwide Influence

Submitted by Timothy Mulderrig on the 2022 winter session program in Italy sponsored by the Department of Philosophy…

In the final week of my study abroad program in Rome, Italy I had a truly mind blowing experience. Somehow, we were able to secure tickets for a special mass held by the Pope in St. Peter’s Basilica. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there was reduced capacity at the event. As a result, I got a wonderful seat. The pope walked past me and was about 5 feet away from me at one point! It was in that moment that I really felt the weight of the importance of Rome as a city. I am not even a Catholic, yet I acknowledge the influence that the Pope has worldwide. That is representative of Rome as a city itself. The people from this city and the events that occurred within its walls has been so influential on the course of world events throughout all of history. I will forever be grateful for my time spent in the eternal city!

Pope Francis at the special Papal Mass

Hawaii: The Big Island

Submitted by Julia Kausel on the 2022 winter session program in Hawaii sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences…

Aloha! This past week we transitioned from Oahu to Hawaii (The Big Island). This was a really cool week to compare everything about both of the islands we had been on so far. One of the main things we studied this week was the volcanic rocks on The Big Island, and how the whole Islands structure is different than Oahu. My favorite part of the week was going to Volcanoes National Park. It was so interesting to see how the plants and animals living in the park were so drastically different than other islands in Hawaii.

Something that I didn’t expect was how different parts of the Big Island were to each other. Right after visiting Volcanoes National Park and admiring how rocky and dry it was, we visited the Botanical Gardens which were lush and filled with vibrant plants. I really enjoyed seeing the difference between the two islands ecosystems as well as the difference in plants based on location on the Big Island.

An Orchid found growing out of the volcanic rock in a very dry hot area.


Italy: Trevi Fountain

Submitted by Lydia Fimmano on the 2022 winter session program in Italy sponsored by the Department of Philosophy…

The Trevi Fountain has quickly become a group favorite on my study abroad program to Rome. When we saw it for the first time we all fell in love and weren’t even sad to leave because we knew that we would be back to spend more time there. One thing I love about Rome is that sometimes you just turn a corner and then something amazing (like the Trevi Fountain) is just there. One of my favorite memories there is when we had a free day and I went with two of my friends, Daria and Rory, to a rooftop restaurant that overlooked the Trevi Fountain. We enjoyed talking and eating all while staring at a beautiful site. We also all bought shirts that had the Trevi Fountain on them and are planning to all wear them together. I know that this is going to be one of those places that I will miss the most when I leave Rome.


Italy: Positive Impact

Submitted by Alexis Dempsey on the 2022 winter session program in Italy sponsored by the Department of English…

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from this study abroad program, it’s that traveling with a group of strangers is the best decision one can make. Studying in Italy with a group of about fourteen other University of Delaware students has positively impacted my life in various ways. These students, who quickly became my close friends, were able to create a safe space for me to be able to fully express myself and transition into a more confident person. I truly believe that they, along with the experiences we had in Italy, have made me a more positive, creative, and travel-loving person. I highly recommend studying abroad if presented with the opportunity. This experience is one that I will forever cherish and look back on with a smile.

“World’s Best Gelato” in San Gimignano
Me at the top of a bell tower in San Gimignano