MSIS Continental Connections: Part 3

Study Tour 2018 Part 3: Cultural Highlights

In between company visits in both the Netherlands and Spain, the MSIS alumni experienced the rich cultures of each country. Below, each MSIS alumni shares their most memorable moment:

Ben Hou: Lost on Purpose

Ben Hou & Barcelona
One of my favorite moments of the trip was in Barcelona when I got really lost (on purpose). I walked from one of the oldest parts of the city to one of the newest and soaked in all the sights and sounds along the way. Kids playing basketball, students hanging out at the university, eating tapas in an ancient square next to a church, and thumbing through thrift stores. It was fascinating seeing the hustle and bustle of small alleys give way to what a modern city looks like.

Stephanie Tran: Biking Through Beauty

MSIS Alum Stephanie Tran
Bikes in Amsterdam

There are some moments that move us more than others, and I stumbled onto this feeling of ethereal lightness while pedaling through the cobblestone streets of Amsterdam. It was a guided bike tour, rich with history and a simple activity very much aligned with the city’s culture. However, there wasn’t any route set in stone (pun not intended). As our group sped around the aesthetically pleasing houses, across the canal bridges, and through Vondelpark in the pouring rain, you couldn’t help but feel a sense of ease and appreciation, not just for the beautiful city itself, but for the circumstances that brought such an incredible group of students, educators, and companies together in the first place.

Wayne Olson: The Power of Sunsets

For a long time, sunsets always felt final to me. I try to take as many sunset photos as I can, whenever I can. Catching the sunset along the Mediterranean Sea at Nova Icaria Beach, I realized that chasing sunsets has helped to keep me grounded and thinking about the “now” rather than the past or the present. The beach was alive with people playing volleyball, hanging out at bars and cafes, or ending their day with a stroll along the boardwalk taking in the atmosphere. The sunset I was fortunate to witness set the buildings along the beach ablaze with sharp shades of red, orange and pink. While off the coast, the clouds were dark purple contrasting against the light blue sky. The colorful sunset felt right at home in a place as bright and colorful as Barcelona and a perfect highlight of this trip.
Wayne Olson & Church

Nick Williams: Experiencing History

Nick Williams & Amsterdam River
My favorite leg of the MSIS Study Tour was our time visiting the city of Amsterdam. During our time there, we had the opportunity to partake in numerous activities, including both a bike tour and a boat tour. This was a great way to get an intimate understanding of the city and learn some of the lesser-known history. Did you know that there is a species of wild invasive parrots living in Amsterdam? This was my first time traveling out of North America, so it was truly an invaluable experience for me to encounter another culture.

Final Reflections

In a similar way to how globalization is connecting the world, the MSIS Study Tour trip took a group of strangers (albeit some former classmates) and pushed them to quickly form lifelong friendships through common interests and shared experience. It reminded us how important it is to push yourself out of your comfort zone and chase a worldly perspective. It most certainly was a trip of a lifetime. 10/10 would do again!

FIESTA Sign Barcelona