Money Talks: What My ISA Scholarship Allowed Me to Experience Abroad

Laura Lam is a student at the University of Tennessee, and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Barcelona, Spain.

Thanks to the Castaneda Scholarship, I was able to go on the best trip of my life with ISA during spring break to Morocco! The trip was led by ISA, and all participants were students from ISA programs. The cost of transportation, lodging, and most meals were included in the price. Morocco was somewhere I would not feel comfortable going alone so this trip was great since the itinerary is all planned by ISA, and they had a lot of experience and practical tips to keep us safe and healthy. I am very grateful to have been chosen as a scholarship winner because I was able to go on this life-changing trip that I would have otherwise not been able to afford. I knew Morocco was going to be very fun and unique, but what resulted was an unforgettable experience.

For my trip, we had a group of around 70 students comprised of students from Barcelona, Madrid, Salamanca, and Brussels. Everyone on the trip was friendly, and we all became friends immediately. The only regret I have is that I wish I met them sooner, rather than in the last 3 weeks. I really enjoyed hanging out with everyone on the trip.

My favorite part of the trip was definitely camping in the Sahara Desert for two days. It was a once in a lifetime experience. Everything looked like it came straight from National Geographic. Everywhere you looked, there were endless amounts of sand dunes. The sunrise was incredibly breathtaking, as well as seeing the sun set. The scenery and the pictures were unreal.

Our beautiful desert tent where we had dinner every night and socialized.


Waking up early to see the sunrise was so worth it. There were other tourists riding camels that morning.

The coolest part about the desert came on our second day. We rode camels for around 2 hours! Everyone got to pick and ride their own camel. It was so cool being able to travel through the desert and have camels as our mode of transportation. How often can someone say they’ve ridden a camel through the Sahara? Not very often.

Asides from the desert, we toured two different cities in Morocco: Fes and Meknes. Both cities were incredibly beautiful and diverse. We did a tour of both of their medinas. I ended up buying most of my souvenirs for family and friends from this trip. There were an endless amount of quality and handmade items to choose from, including scarves, carpets, jewelry, leather, and Moroccan oil.

Beautiful door at the royal palace of Fez. All the architecture was stunning!


Got to see how leather was made. Very cool, but the smell was very strong!

Overall, this trip was everything I wanted and so much more. The people were great, the food was good, and the adventures were super fun. I am so grateful to have been able to go on this trip because of this scholarship. If you are offered the opportunity and can afford it, please go! You will definitely not regret it.

The world awaits…discover it.

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