Summer Abroad Portugal - Instructor

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Portugal—Hidden Gem

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Robert Patrick Newcomb

Portuguese Department

rpnewcomb@ucdavis.edu 

Robert Patrick Newcomb is an Associate Professor of Luso-Brazilian Studies. One of his main research areas is Portuguese literature and culture. He has led summer abroad programs in Brazil, is fluent in Portuguese, and has extensive experience in Portugal.

A Message to Students and Parents

When I first visited Portugal, I immediately knew that it was special and wanted to return. I still feel this way, even as I write this! In Portuguese there’s a word for this longing to return to a place and to people that you love: saudade. Portugal’s charm lies in its stunning natural beauty, its balance of tradition and modernity, its fascinating culture, literature, and artistic traditions, and the sincere warmth of its people. We want to share this charm, this encanto (enchantment), with my students.

As a study abroad destination, Portugal is sometimes overlooked. But in recent years, it has emerged as a “go to” destination for culturally sophisticated and budget-conscious travelers, as well as exchange students. It’s a true “hidden gem,” but one that won’t remain hidden for much longer! The program will be housed at the University of Porto – a leading European research university. I’ll offer students an interdisciplinary overview of Portugal’s rich, centuries-old traditions in literature, music, and visual culture. We’ll spent long weekends in Lisbon, Portugal’s lovely capital, in Portuguese wine country, on the beach on the northern Atlantic coast, and journeying through the rugged, rolling hills of the Alentejo. In Porto, we’ll visit the famous Port wine caves (warehouses), see a fado performance, check out museums and munuments, and maybe even catch a soccer game at the city’s Estádio do Dragão, home of Porto FC.

For students and parents, this program has a great deal to offer. The instructor, professor Robert Patrick Newcomb, is a specialist in Luso-Brazilian literature and fluent speaker of Portuguese. I am very familiar with Portugal, and have years of experience creating and running study abrod programs. And while study abroad these days often seems out of reach and even unsafe, I can assure you: Portugal has very low crime, excellent public transportation and infrastructure, and a friendly, educated population (much of which speaks English), and is extremely affordable. I promise that after four weeks in Portugal, you will feel the same saudade for Portugal that I do!