Eleven days ago, I walked out of the arrival gates of the Lisbon airport and was met with an overwhelming feeling of nervousness and excitement. Travelling can be daunting, and being my first 'studying abroad' experience, I really didn't know what to expect. Now, approaching two weeks in, I can't believe I ever had any reservations. From the content of the course, the sights of the city, and the amazing relationships I've formed with my classmates-become-friends, it's sad to think it's all over in three short weeks.
Already so far I have been able to experience the lively streets of Lisboa, be awed by the beauty of Sintra, and immerse myself in the history and culture of iconic places such as Castelo de São Jorge, Cristo Rei and the district of Alfama. Lisbon has a unique beauty that really must be seen and experienced to believe. I still cannot get used to the vibrant colours and intricate tiles that adorn the mature buildings.
The course itself has been extremely interesting, addressing the topic of migration from a number of angles and perspectives. It has been amazing to listen to individuals who have had first hand experience in recording the process of migration and working with refugees and organisations. Our field trips have involved a historic walking tour, a migrant tour, and following the noticeable path of the tourisification of the city. Similarly, our classes have been a mixture of traditional, interactive, and also in the form of watching a film whereby the director was with us to answer any of our questions, and give more insight to his project.
The course has something for everyone, and I continue to look forward to the topics we will be discussing. The Uni itself has been quite a unique experience with many other students located at ISCTE-IUL for summer programs. Something I have not grown familiar with is the proximity to the airport that results in the constant flow of planes very close to the group. It's an odd experience, but definitely just another unique characteristic of this place that I will never forget.
Our accommodation is extremely practical, and very close to everything you could need. We are sleeping in either single or double rooms, each with our own bed, desk, and cupboard space. We have a decent communal kitchen area, washing machine, three bathrooms between ten students, and a very cute outdoor area with enough room for us to all enjoy a drink in the afternoon whilst enjoying the endless summer sun. The metro station is just a few meters from our door, and from there we can be in any part of the city in minutes. The culture of Lisbon is extremely lively, and we have found ourselves enjoying the lifestyle in so many ways, even simply when gorging Portuguese tarts and pastries in the park, or sipping coffee in the cobblestone streets.
Although the days are long, and our time at ISCTE-IUL is filled with interesting lecturers and lessons, it's amazing how we have still found time to go and explore. Our afternoons are filled with visiting cultural sites and tourist attractions recommended by our teachers, and also exploring our own curiosities. I have found navigating the city is pretty easy, with public transport available across the whole city and to the destinations we wish to go. In all, from sipping sangria on the beach, touring the palaces of Sintra, and learning about the vast aspects of Global Migration whilst physically seeing these representations in the city outside, it has been a very full, and very exciting first half of the Border Crossings Program. I'm excited to see what other experiences are waiting in these next two weeks!
My name is Katelyn Jones, I'm 22 years old and in my third year at the University of Wollongong. I am studying a Bachelor of International Studies with a minor in Italian and majoring in International Relations, and I will also be completing a Diploma of Languages in French. Travelling is my number one passion. I love experiencing different cultures and languages, exploring new places and, of course, trying new food! I'm also really interested in understanding the way the world works, which is why I decided to study International Relations and why I will be doing this course on Global Migration.