Newly arrived Spanish professor Diana Dodson Lee, Ph.D., might still be unpacking her belongings in southeastern North Carolina, but already she’s making plans to travel again: This time, she is leading a study abroad class in March to Madrid and Segovia, Spain.
The trip to Spain counts toward SPN 3510: Study Abroad (CRN 20486) and is a 3-credit elective, team-taught by Lee and Spanish professor Enrique J. Porrua. Students will meet once a week beginning in January to finalize details and learn about Spanish culture. During the trip, timed to coincide with spring break, students will tour Madrid and Segovia and visit important cultural sites such as the Royal Palace, Retiro Park, and el Museo del Prado (the Prado Museum, Lee’s favorite).
Lee’s own experience studying abroad as an undergraduate profoundly shaped her perspective and her future. She studied abroad for her sophomore year in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her first day of class in Buenos Aires was Sept. 11, 2001—the day we now remember as 9/11.
“The most surprising thing for me was not how studying abroad helped me to learn Spanish and deepen my knowledge of another country, although my experience did help me acquire language and experience,” she says. “The most surprising thing was how that year shaped the way I view my own country and culture: the foundation for my thinking about my own role as a US citizen and a global citizen started during my year abroad.”
Because of this life-changing experience, she chose to become a professor of Spanish and Latin American culture to educate young people about ways to think about the world around them that take into account the diverse experience of other cultures and languages.
“Study abroad was the root of my inspiration, and I would encourage everyone to take the opportunity to go abroad during college since it can help give you a foundational experience that will broaden your perspective and help you with interacting with people from different cultures,” she says.
In March, Lee is excited to share her favorite artist—Francisco de Goya, whose work is exhibited in the Prado Museum—with UNCP students. “Goya had a long career with several different stages, and each one reflects the mood of Spanish society during that time period,” she says. “The final stage of his artwork is extremely dark because he went deaf later in life and was persecuted by the Spanish government for his criticism of their regime. I find his life story fascinating.”
To learn more or to register for the course, please contact Lee at (910) 775-4033 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Porrua at (910) 521-6428 or email@example.com, or visit the Office of International Programs at 902 Dogwood Lane, (910) 775-4095, or firstname.lastname@example.org.