Every semester a Kasteel Well student is hired to make a professional quality video documenting the semester abroad. This year, Max Murphy ’22 was selected — and unlike any previous Kasteel Well semester, the students were sent back to the U.S. due to a worldwide public health crisis.
“Once the coronavirus began spreading throughout Europe, I knew that the video was going to look a little different than I imagined. Of course, I could not have predicted the extent,” said Murphy.
Murphy said the project changed after the spring break trip to Milan was cancelled.
“From there, I think the journalistic side of me came out. If I was going to truly capture the semester in a video, it wasn’t going to be all butterflies and rainbows,” said Murphy.
Days later, the students were told they were going back to the Boston. They weren’t on campus for more than a week when students were told they needed to go home.
“This Kasteel Well semester we made history. Not in the way we wanted, but by what was placed in our path,” said Senior Advisor for Student Affairs for Kasteel Well Tikesha Morgan. “They rose above the challenges, and officially finished the spring 2020 semester.”
Morgan championed Murphy, saying he “went above and beyond” what was expected as he continued to put together the film once stateside.
“Once everyone was settled into their homes, I began doing Zoom interviews to use as footage for the end of the video,” said Murphy. “As I was piecing the interviews together, I soon realized that a common theme across all the students was that they were grateful for the experience they had, even though it was short-lived. This was certainly my own view of everything, so I used that at the overarching ‘conclusion’ to end with a positive message”
Evident in the video is the bonds formed for the students from their abbreviated semester abroad. They made new friends, had unforgettable experiences, and gain many new perspectives on life and traveling, said Murphy.
Director of Education Abroad and Domestic Programs David Griffin said castle alumni reach out to him all the time, and go back when they can. There’s also now a second generation of Emersonians who attend Kasteel Well like their parents.
“The Spring 2020 term may have been cut short, but I have no doubt that the impact of this experience will stay with them for a long time. Once a castle dweller, always a castle dweller,” said Griffin.