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Becca Kaplan

  • The Perks of Being a Traveler

    by Becca Kaplan | Feb 09, 2017

    I’ve taken a lot of trips in my short 20 years of life. I’ve done everything from the classic, month-long cross country road trip on I-10 – the interstate connecting Jacksonville, FL to Los Angeles, CA – to taking a simple day trip to Chicago. None of these somewhat spontaneous trips, however, even come close to the excursion I went on last weekend.

    Through Brethren Colleges Abroad (BCA), students are required to go on an excursion with the rest of the BCA group near the beginning of the semester. During the spring semester in Barcelona, students visit northern Catalunya, exploring everything from ancient ruins and monasteries to museums and small ocean towns along Costa Brava. The whole weekend is spent immersing yourself in the art, history, and nature of Spain, and wow it is such a cool experience! During our trip, we stayed at a hotel in Girona, Spain – about 40 minutes from the French Border. Girona is kind of like the European version of Wabash – the next, slightly bigger, town over from North Manchester. It’s right on the Onyar River, and it’s full of incredibly kind people and lots of history. When our group was visiting, there was this farmer’s market/carnival right on the river. Vendors sold everything from meats and cheeses to jewelry and stationary. There were rides for the little kids too, powered solely by a man using a hand crank to make the mechanisms twist and spin. My favorite part of this whole weekend though, I must say, would have to be watching the sun set from the top of the Roman Walls that surround the old Jewish neighborhood. We could see the mountains from our spot on the Wall and, as the day faded into the night, everything seemed to get quieter, but also so alive. It’s amazing how a sleepy little town like Girona comes to life when their world goes dark. I love it. Below is a picture from that night. I hope you appreciate it as much as I do!


    Life in Europe is so different than it is in the United States, and boy do I love it. Consumer products seem to be cheaper here, university classes are nothing like they are at MU, and I swear the coffee here was made by angels – it’s that good. I get up most mornings around 8 or 8:30, depending on how much effort I want to put into my appearance, and I eat the breakfast that my host mom prepares me. For me, personally, breakfast always consists of a juice box and a bocadillo (a little sandwich with some sort of lunch meat, olive oil, and a tomato spread), but I know that other students luck out and get chocolate (aka Nutella) crepes every morning. It’s a little out there when compared to what Americans usually start their days with, but I must admit: it’s pretty darn good. After breakfast, I get ready, and I hop on the metro and go to class. Classes here are 1.5 hours long, and they meet twice a week sometime between Monday and Thursday. Words cannot express how much I enjoy my new life here. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and my time here has only just begun.

                Because I have so much freedom, I spend a lot of my time exploring and looking for good, cheap flights to other European cities. Every night, however, I make it a point to sit down and read a chapter or two of whatever book I happen to have picked up. My favorite book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, is one that I read once or twice or year, and it’s the kind of book that seems to have something new to say every time you look through it. While I was reading last night, I came across one of my favorite quotes: “But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things.” To me, this quote is one that I feel is quite fitting for me, and for anyone who feels kind of discouraged in life. Just because we haven’t always made the best decisions, and things have happened that we aren’t too proud of, it doesn’t mean that it has to determine what we do for the rest of our lives. Because of this quote, along with the support of my family and friends, I felt motivated and determined enough to go to Spain, and to study in this beautiful city. That’s really all anybody needs to go on this kind of adventure - love, faith, and support. I have just recently discovered the Perks of Being a Traveler, and believe me, I have no intentions on stopping any time soon. Until next time. - B

    Becca Kaplan ’19, is a Spanish Secondary Education major with minors in TESOL and Business. As a commuter student, she spends most of her time on campus either studying, watching Netflix, or writing her next blog post. When classes are not in session, Becca usually travels, either visiting her parents in Florida, or her extended family in St. Louis.