July 11, 2019
From May 11 to June 3, I had the privilege of hosting the Essential Europe trip for young graduates representing the MSU Alumni Office. Together we traveled to London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Cologne, Heidelberg, Rothenburg, Munich, Salzburg, Alpine Center in Austria, Venice, Florence, Rome, Pompeii, Poros and Athens. 37 brand-new MSU graduates and one wonderful tour director from Austria named Marlena attended this unforgettable trip. I had no idea the impact this group of Spartans would have on me.
Traveling across Europe with fellow Spartan Alumni directly following graduation was an incredible experience as we transitioned out of being MSU undergraduate students. Every person I traveled with was energetic and enthusiastic about everything we were able to do (a trait common among Spartans). There is something special about the bond you build while experiencing new places with new people. Now imagine all those new people being Spartans, and it's even more special.
I made memories with fellow Spartan graduates that I would never be able to make with anyone else.
There was no better way to end my time as an MSU student.
From riding the London Eye on the first day, climbing the Eiffel tower later that week, riding bikes through the Dutch Country side, tasting real Belgian Waffles, making a wish at the Trevi Fountain and tubing in the Mediterranean Sea—nothing will ever compare! During our last night together on the trip, we sat together on the rooftop patio of our hotel in Athens, looking out at the Parthenon. We were there for hours talking and reminiscing about our favorite memories at Michigan State University.
If you ask anyone on our trip who made it the most special, we would likely agree on our tour director, Marlena. Her free-spirited, encouraging and adventurous personality provided the perfect experience. She taught us so much and went above and beyond. She even admitted to us that every year she requests to have Michigan State University as her school — and that is something special that made us even more proud to be Spartans.
I will continue to travel with Spartan Pathways throughout my life simply to stay in touch with my fellow Spartans that also love to travel and learn. I will carry my memories from this trip for a lifetime. It sure is extraordinary to be a Spartan!