This trip was very important for me for several reasons. It was amazing to travel out of the country again after so many years. I learned quite a bit, but it was also incredibly helpful to see these places in person after reading and learning about them previously. Auschwitz especially. It was almost surreal to stand in a place I had read so much about  for so long and never dreamed I would ever actually get to see.

I have been trying to decide what my favorite part was, but we saw so many amazing things it is hard to pick just one. The first castle we visited in Warsaw was one of my favorites. I’ve always loved castles in general, but seeing all the details and furnishings that remain was amazing. I also liked that I was given the opportunity to explore it on my own. Some places need guided tours, but this one was better to take in by myself.

The last castle was another favorite. I never learned much about the crusades in school, so having the chance to see that history in person was incredible.

As for cities, Krakow was my favorite stop. Partly because our tour guide was amazing, and partly because we were in a better part of town than before, but also the freedom we were given to explore on our own and the places we visited were some of my favorites. For example, the Lady and the Ermine and the underground ancient city.

Furthermore, despite all the drama that happened, I am so grateful that I had the chance to meet and bond with other amazing scotties. I really needed this time away from my personal life to reconnect with the Scottie community. Sometimes I get so caught up in my relationship with my boyfriend that I forget that I still need friends. This last semester I had really begun to miss having girl friends. This trip gave me the opportunity to forge new friendships.

Without this trip I probably would never have had the chance to visit Poland. Poland has such a rich history that I never knew or thought about. When people think of Poland they think of World War Two and Auschwitz. But, there is so much more to their history and culture. This journey gave us all the opportunity to view Poland from all sides through local food, interactions with local people, and touring through five major cities. We explored all types of transportation and immersed ourselves in the culture. We were guided, but also were given enough freedom to feel like adults. It is an experience I will never forget. I am so thankful for Dr. Kennedy and Dr. Manes. I really can not thank you enough.

Elinor Reid Hightower ’18