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UD students visit the Teatro Greco of Syracuse in Sicily.
Built in the fifth century B.C., the Teatro Greco of Syracuse in Sicily reflects the ancient history of the island.

Study travel writing in Italy or France

Photos courtesy of Michael McCamley

UD Professor Michael McCamley shares insight and expertise on studying abroad

To learn the art of travel writing, one must travel. 

At the University of Delaware, Professor Michael McCamley leads courses in travel writing and introduction to rhetoric and writing studies, taught mostly in Rome and Florence, Italy, but occasionally in France.

“I hope that, by the time the students fly back home, they have developed a sense of awe and wonder at how beautifully diverse the world and its people are,” said McCamley. “If nothing else, I hope the experience fosters a wanderlust that lasts their entire lives.”

Here, the associate professor of English and director of the first-year writing program shares some lessons learned from his time teaching abroad. 

What’s the difference between teaching material in Delaware vs. abroad?

Studying abroad brings the material to life in a way studying at home in Delaware cannot.

Fill in the blank. Students who choose this study abroad experience tend to be…

Intrepid. They adapt easily to unplanned incidents and unfamiliar cultures.

What’s your advice to anyone traveling to Italy for the first time?

Slow down and savor everything. Italy is a country of beauty — the art, the architecture, the countryside; there’s a reason why everyone wants to move to Tuscany. And, of course, you have to eat as much of the most delicious food in the world as you can!

UD students visit Tuscany.
“There’s a reason everyone wants to move to Tuscany,” McCamley said of the region’s breathtaking charm.

What has Italy taught you?  

You do not have to “earn” the right to enjoy the pleasures of life. They are meant to be enjoyed without guilt.

Any obscure pieces of trivia about Italy that you love sharing at parties?

Italy, as a unified country, is younger than the United States.

What’s something from Italy that you’d love to see America adopt?

  1. An intense reverence for the arts and humanities.
  2. Work to live, not live to work.
  3. Every meal can be a celebration.

Do you do anything differently now, as a result of your time spent abroad? 

In Italy, it’s usually easier to walk everywhere than drive, so I am always looking for ways to walk to places rather than using my car. It’s healthier, and walking forces you to notice things you might not have noticed otherwise.

What’s your most memorable study abroad story? 

When I was leading a study in Paris, we took the Métro to the Eiffel Tower. Most of the trip was underground, but when the train emerged, the Eiffel Tower loomed right before us. I loved hearing all of my students gasp in unison at the sight of it.

Blue Hens visit the Spanish Steps, the longest and widest steps in Europe and an important Roman landmark.
Blue Hens visit the Spanish Steps, the longest and widest steps in Europe and an important Roman landmark.

Study abroad

Students who would like to learn more and explore study abroad options for the 2024 Winter Session and beyond should contact UD’s Center for Global Programs and Services, which can provide information about the application process, scholarships and financing. Please also visit the UD Abroad Blog for student perspectives on the study abroad experience.

From Delaware to the World

2023 marks the 100-year anniversary of study abroad, pioneered at the University of Delaware in 1923 when UD language professor and World War I veteran Raymond Kirkbride took eight students to France for their junior year.  Today, UD boasts more than 100 study abroad programs in 40-plus countries and has an international student population that hails from over 100 countries. For more, visit udel.edu/studyabroad100.  

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