Homeward bound

Posted on June 15, 2016 by

This post is guest-written by Alberto Moron Hernandez, and is the third and final instalment of a series (part 1 here; part 2 here). All images by Alberto.

My semester abroad has finished and it is time to return home. It just so happens that I’m travelling the long way around – meandering down the East coast and taking a minor detour to California along the way.

The time I have spent at UMass has provided me with plenty of challenges which have ultimately proven to be very rewarding and I treasure everything I’ve learnt both inside and outside the classroom. My last weeks on exchange went by in a flurry of workshops (such as the Five College DataFest or IBM’s excellent Design Thinking), preparing finals and term papers, and greeting spring sunshine with a smattering of barbeques on the lawns of UMass.

Despite greatly enjoying Western Massachusetts I was excited about the prospect of spending a couple of weeks seeing parts of the United States I had yet to visit.


Deerfield, one of the best spots in Western Massachusetts.

In the first few days after finishing my classes I did not stray far from campus, wanting to see parts of the state which I had not managed to see during term time. The more I saw of the region, the more I resented my student visa having an expiry date at all. Out of all the places I visited, Deerfield stood out for the way the town had managed to capture and preserve its colonial heritage without turning into a tourist trap or a pastiche of its former self. The buildings and people tending to them give a sense of immersion in this fantastic pocket of history located just a few minutes away from campus.


Seeing the sights in Washington D.C.

After exploring some more of Massachusetts I ventured down to Washington D.C. This is a city which I had long wanted to see and which ended up exceeding my expectations. Amongst the obvious tourist spots two places stood out: the Capitol and the National Archives (home of the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights). Both offered incredible insights into American history and I left D.C. with the intent of returning some day and seeing places I did not have time for on this trip.


Flying over the Rocky Mountains & taking a ferry in San Francisco.

The last leg of my journey took me to the Bay Area. Though I already knew the city, it was fun returning to San Francisco. Visiting Berkeley and the surrounding area was nice, as was seeing a friend from high school who I had not seen in years and who is currently studying in California. All in all, a great holiday that was icing on the cake of a fantastic semester abroad.

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge everyone who has made my travels that much more pleasant. Many thanks to my parents for making the experience of a lifetime possible. My lecturers, both at home and abroad, who have guided me every step of the way also have my gratitude. Lastly, the friends I made at UMass know how thankful I am to them for making my time there truly excellent.