September 12, 2022
McNair Scholars Travel to Canada
The following was written by John Odasco, McNair Scholar.
I was supposed to travel abroad my fall semester of 2020 but due to the exponential rise of COVID-19 at the time, it had to be postponed. Fast forward to 2022 where we have better regulation of the virus and vaccine boosters, I felt a sense of liberation traveling again – especially out of the country. I looked forward to relaxing and a pleasant change of pace, both of which I received during our Canada trip.
This was a 9 day trip both for Honors Ambassadors and McNair Scholars. The main goal of the trip was to visit the University of Prince Edward Island, one of FMU’s sister schools – the school I was planning on going to for study abroad. It was a chance for us to expand our worldview and represent Francis Marion University.
We took a plane from Charlotte, NC to Portland, Maine. Once there, we toured the major cities within the state including Portland, Bar Harbor, St. John, and Bangor. We did what typical tourists do when visiting a new city: ate out at the best restaurants, took photos, and window shopped – which later turned to literal shopping. 😉
My favorite visit in the state was Acadia National Park. I remember stepping out on a ledge, viewing the rocky beaches below amidst an afternoon fog. It was the most breathtaking view I’ve ever seen and I remember comparing the view to something one would see in the West Coast, particularly Oregon.
Our road trip to Maine was a blast but on we went to the Canadian border to visit Prince Edward Island (PEI). A city filled with world class seafood and other types of food, including Vietnamese pho which I loved. We got to visit the Green Gables Heritage Place, which served as a setting for the Anne of Green Gables novels. If any of you have watched Anne with an E on Netflix, it’s inspired by the novel.
One of my favorite moments at PEI was the bar at the first floor of our hotel. I decided to get a cocktail drink and noticed that the names of the drinks were Filipino-inspired: “Filipiniana”, “El Presidente”, “La Puebla Martini”, “Pearl of the Orient”. I later asked the bartender why that is and surprisingly enough, he said that a Filipino bartender curated part of the menu.
The grand finale of the trip was visiting the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI). We got a chance to talk to the professors and staff of the university and toured parts of the campus, including the engineering and nursing/healthcare departments. In those moments, I got to feel – even if it was only for a couple of hours – what it would’ve been like to study abroad on the beautiful campus.
The trip was a wonderful success and I want to give a shoutout to Dr. Tuttle and his wife Cheryl Tuttle, along with Dr. Stoeckmann for making it possible. It was a memorable trip and it wouldn’t have been an experience without having my fellow Honors Ambassadors, Scholars, and Mentors on this trip.