I’m all packed up and ready for my departure tomorrow morning from Harlaxton. It sure has been an incredible six months. I feel I’ve grown professionally and personally from this internship and have been positively influenced by wonderful colleagues, students and the overall environment—both at Harlaxton and in the UK as a whole. I am truly blessed with the opportunities I have had in my life and am very grateful for yet another memorable and inspiring chapter.
I spent the past several weeks putting together a new promotional video for the College, which has gotten high praise from students, faculty and administration. (A bit of a relief after putting so much time and energy into it): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4X6zIQUPF7M
While I leave Harlaxton with mixed emotions and some sadness, I have much to look forward to, including eight weeks of travel in Europe before returning to Portland where a new job awaits me. Tomorrow I head to Madrid where I will meet one of my childhood friends, Bridget. We have 11 days planned in Spain, including Madrid, Granada, Cordoba, Seville and Barcelona. I have never been to Spain so am looking forward to a new cultural experience and am very excited for tapas, sun and heat!
Bridget and I fly back to the UK and head to Scotland for T in the Park music festival just north of Edinburgh. Last year it rained the entire festival, but I’m hopeful the weather will be better this year. There are tons of musicians and bands I’m looking forward to seeing so think it will be a great weekend regardless. Bridget then returns to the States while I stay in Scotland for a few more days to go to the Inveraray Highland Games, said to have started in 1563. There will be Highland dancing, piping, and field and track events.
After Scotland, I then meet up with my Harlaxton coworkers/friends, Ben and Anke, for 12 days of traveling in Slovenia (Ljubljana), Austria (Salzburg), and Germany (Munich, Nuremberg, and Ulm where Anke is from). I’m looking forward to seeing castles, caves, the Alps, quaint historic towns, and hiking. It will be hard saying bye to Ben and Anke, but know I will see them again… perhaps in Portland?
On July 30, I will then make my way back to Scotland and spend 3 more weeks in Edinburgh. The world’s largest arts festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, takes place August 2-26. I love Scotland so much and am excited to get to know Edinburgh even better during the festival time. I have been to Scotland three times in the past six weeks and adore it more and more with each visit.
En route back to Portland, I will spend four days in Reykjavik and explore parts of Iceland. I think this will be a very different, remote and surreal experience. The population of the entire country is just over 300,000 people. Friends of mine who have been there say it feels like being on the moon (or at least what they think that would be like).
I return home on Friday August 23, just in time for my new job that starts August 27. It is a 12-month AmeriCorps position as Program Coordinator for Carpe Mundi (www.carpemundi.org), a “non-profit community development organization supporting low income, at-risk, and first-generation Portland students”. Carpe Mundi provides students with academic and personal support, as well as experiential and international learning opportunities. Students in the program meet monthly for group meetings and then go on a three month service-learning study abroad program in the spring. My job will include advising students and recruitment, as well as grant writing and other administrative duties. Again, I am extremely blessed and excited for this opportunity. Here is a short, 2-minute video featuring a few of the students and Hansell, the Executive Director and my future supervisor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MV15-Z4bxnU