Submission by World Government Student, Anisa:
Lisboa continues to amaze and inspire us during our program; this time we ventured out of our hometown of Benfica and to the stunning Costa de Caparica. With the promise of a beach day with surf lessons, needless to say, we were all excited! We got onto the bus Tuesday morning expecting an uneventful commute, but instead, we got to pass over the beautiful 25 de Abril Bridge, which is almost an exact replica of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and had the opportunity to take pictures of the Cristo Rei Christ Statue that took inspiration from the Redeemer statue of Rio de Janeiro.
Our jaws dropped upon seeing the beautiful far-reaching beach. The water was a captivating shade of blue with waves that weren't too intimidating. We laid out all of our things, and after a quick dip into the ocean, that was the cold shock we needed to wake us up, we played a volleyball game while waiting for our surfing lesson.
A little bit of nervousness set in right before our lesson; however, that was quickly wiped away with our surfing teachers' great spirits and optimism (and also by the concentration it took to put on the wet suits). Before getting into the water, we were taught the primary three steps to get up on your board, and while we did look a little silly pretending to surf on the sand, we gained the knowledge for a fantastic challenge!
The best tip I can give to someone about to take their first surfing lesson is never to get disheartened! I must have fallen off my board twenty times before I was able to stand upon it. But once I did, it was such a freeing feeling that was worth how sore my arms were the next day.
Being able to experience my first time surfing with a group of positive friends and knowledgeable instructors made the experience even more memorable. Seeing bright smiles even after they were knocked under the water by a large wave kept me smiling.
After the long process of taking off the wet suit, some students wandered the shoreline hunting for beautiful bright pink and white seashells. Back at our spot, we enjoyed watching some highly talented surfers going far beyond the three steps we were taught while we ate our lunch and chatted with each other. After finishing up, we braved the cold water again and went for a swim. I think the uniqueness of our program was shown in how we maintained a discussion about what we had learned about the European Union the previous day while jumping into the waves.
Before we knew it, we were packing up our towels and books and heading back onto our bus ending a perfect beach day with a movie over dinner back at our dorm rooms.