Outside of Barcelona, the peaks of Montserrat stretch into the sky, dotted with green forest and reddish roofs. The ascent to the top is a rite of passage that University of Chicago student Sally Wan experienced during her first weekend in Spain as part of the spring study abroad program in Barcelona.
“I connected with many wonderful people in Spanish, including three Catalonian grandfathers who were hoping to summit for the first time,” recalled Wan, who will be a fourth-year student in the College. “It was an incredibly special experience for me.”
Later that quarter, Wan returned to Montserrat on an excursion with her class, stopping to snap a photo of a watercolor she painted to commemorate her hike—and her transformative experience studying abroad.
Moments of learning and connection like Wan’s give UChicago students a taste of the world beyond campus. Through a range of study abroad programs, undergraduates bring knowledge gained in the classroom to transformative, real-life experiences—from dusty hikes in the Sahara Desert to tours of the gilded palace of Versailles.
About half of all students in the College participate in study abroad programs. Many of them pursue an immersive experience of their subject as part of UChicago’s distinctive Core curriculum, learning from UChicago faculty who bring intellectual curiosity and rigor to classrooms in 21 countries and 58 programs.
Every year, UChicago collects student photography, writing and videography in its annual study abroad contests. Below are some of this year’s winning entries, which included Wan’s second-place photo entry from the mountains of Spain.