Imagine that you're Max in "Where the Wild Things Are." Except you're in the classroom instead of your bedroom. Suddenly, the ceiling melts away into a shining sky, the blackboard dissolves into the medieval façade of a crenellated fortress, the walls transmute into a streetside café with vino tinto, fino sherry, or café con leche, your classmates and professor become polyglot world travelers like yourself. Well, that's what study and travel abroad really are like.

Please take any chance at all to go abroad, whether for a summer, a semester, a few weeks. Your knowledge of the foreign language will increase exponentially and your immersion in the culture will expand your own world in fascinating and multifaceted ways. My junior year in college, - many centuries ago! - I lived in Sevilla,

 Spain. This beautiful city, in the region of Andalucía, was one of the seats of the Muslim empire in Spain; magnificent Arabic architecture, palaces, towers, and mosques grace this entire Southern topography. Living with Spanish students in a "residencia," I had no choice but to express myself in Spanish. I explored Granada, which features the Alhambra, whose Generalife gardens were a model of beauty and agricultural technology in the Middle Ages, and its magnificent "Patio de Leones"; the city of Córdoba, with its ancient Jewish cemetery and the world-famous Mezquita, a mosque that was later built over by the Christian Empire; and coastal towns of Cádiz, Málaga, and Carmona. Over many a copa with student friends, I discovered a foreign view of the United States, of culture, art, politics, and history.  I observed the city-wide festivals such as Semana Santa, the Holy Week, in which giant saint figures are born throughout the streets on velvet platforms and neighborhoods proudly declare the superior beauty of their particular Virgin Mary, glass tears rolling down her porcelain face; the Feria, in which the city shuts down for a week-long celebration of flamenco culture featuring dance, music, and lots of  tinto; and the Carnaval in Cádiz; this all furnished perspectives that complemented with the irreplaceable colors of real life everything that I'd ever studied in the classroom.Please feel free to consult with me or other faculty about opportunities for study or travel abroad!

Dragon deity? Lizard phantasmagoria?


Sagrada Familia








Manzana de la Discordia, Barrio Eixample

The hallucinogenic, gorgeous architectural confections of Antonio Gaudí: swirling sea serpents frozen in stone, undulating aquatic invertebrates comprised of broken champagne glass, shells, found materials, a park whose benches imitate the slither of dragontails, a cathedral-in-the-making whose towers surge in an impossible blend of lapidary  neo-gothic glory and Disney gone darkly awry.

Then there is the art nouveau ornamentation of Picasso's old haunts, including the famous Els Quatre Gats café where he confabulated with Dalí and Miró. The Barrio Gótico of narrow, labyrinthine streets studded with brightly colored plaques limning Catalan history and inscribed with folk proverbs. Art nouveau nocturnal haunts that get started at 2:00 a.m.  A beautiful profusion of bookstores boasting works in Spanish, Catalan, and French. A tradition of progressive thinking that dates back to the Middle Ages made this city a bastion of resistance to the fascist Francoist forces during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), and has nourished internationally acclaimed writers, artists, and philosophers. A culturally forward-looking urban space that celebrates the beauty of human beings in all their diversity, some of which may be seen in Pedro Almodóvar's Academy-Award winning film Todo sobre mi madre, which depicts the complexity of human desire and sexuality with compassion while also portraying the terrible realities of the AIDS scourge even circa 2000.

A quiet neighborhood church whose door is pockmarked with bullets from Franco's forces.

A globalized space of gleaming museums featuring artwork from every continent.

A perfect venue for students of every nation to meet, experience, question, challenge, and better comprehend what foreignness is, in all senses of that word. For a lovely meditation on these issues, see Cédric Klapisch's L'Auberge Espagnole.