"Planes, Trains, Automobiles and COVID-19" is the fourth episode of the semester of The Miami Student's podcast, Behind the Brick, which is released bi-weekly on Fridays. In this episode your host Anna McDougall discusses the ins and outs of studying abroad pre-pandemic and during a pandemic. She is joined by her friend, Connor Osmond as well as Miami’s Global Programs Coordinator Annalee Jones and Miami’s Global Learning Coordinator Dave McAvoy.
This year, Miami was named a top-producer for Fulbright, a program that sends its grant recipients to study and work abroad in foreign countries. Miami currently touts five alumni, all ETAs, abroad on Fulbright grants for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Copenhangen, Denmark has long been my dream city to visit, live in, and experience. This will not come as a surprise to my closest friends; in fact, it may be met with an eye roll because I talk about the subject so frequently. But who could blame me? How could I not be fascinated by a country that consistently tops the list as one of the happiest and most sustainable in the world?
My 2019 trek to Everest Base Camp was very eye-opening to the startlingly real environmental problems that the Himalayan region faces. I reached base camp in Nepal in the beginning of June of last year. The trek took a total of eight days to reach base camp from Lukla, Nepal, and three days to return. Since I hiked on the Nepali side, I was in the Khumbu region, which is home to three of the top ten tallest mountains in the world: Mt. Everest at number one, Lhtose at number four, and Annapurna which ranks at number ten.
Similar to most people, COVID-19 impacted the plans I had for the summer. I found myself at home, bored, and baking way too much banana bread for my own good. So when my dad, a high school teacher, suggested we go on a camping road trip, I was already halfway out of the door. On July 1, we hit the road in our trusty old Dodge Caravan with a stack of U.S. maps and an open schedule. There is no better place to socially distance than the great outdoors; we were armed with masks, sanitizer, and even a pop-up shower to stay safe during the pandemic.
All photos courtesy of Annie Lalonde
All photos courtesy of Sammy Harris
My parents and I had flown into Costa Rica for a family vacation the night before and spent the night in a hotel close to the airport. Today was the first of three stops of our trip: a bed and breakfast called Casa Rural — Aroma de Campo (Country House — Smell of the Land).
“Tiene hambre?” Are you hungry? I snapped back to reality after spacing out as I watched a group of four and five-year-olds jump rope. “Sí, claro,” I said offhandedly. Of course I was hungry, all I’d had for breakfast was pancito — bread, made cuter with a -cito tacked on the end — with strawberry jam. And it was nearly 1 p.m. Juan opened his camouflage lunch box and rummaged around for a moment before he found what he was looking for. He handed me a mango, first inspecting it to make sure the small dent in its skin hadn’t damaged the inside of the fruit. Suddenly, I felt the need to hold back tears.