Meet Senior Editor Sara Welch

Sara Welch outside DuomoSara Welch started working at Academic Arrangements Abroad in October of 2012. Although her title is Senior Editor, Sara also considers herself a copywriter since she creates the text for the firm’s brochures and other publications. Through poetic, evocative language, she tries to convey what is truly extraordinary about destinations and programs. We sat down with Sara to find out more about her background, favorite places (from Bangkok to Staten Island), special skills and more.

What is your hometown?

Princeton, New Jersey – but I was born in New York City in the heart of Greenwich Village, at St. Vincent’s Hospital (which, sadly, no longer exists). We didn’t move to Princeton until I was six and a half, and my family was part of the bohemian rather than the preppy crowd. We used to see John Nash (of A Beautiful Mind fame) hanging out at the local pancake house.

Who would play you in a movie?

Nathan Lane. Or maybe Parker Posey.

City you most recommend to friends

The list is too long! Buenos Aires, Mérida (Mexico), Bangkok, Montreal… It would be easier to say the cities I would *not* recommend, but what would be the point? And I know you didn’t ask, but my favorite New York City borough is Staten Island. It has great parks, gardens, beaches, and killer Sri Lankan food. My favorite places to visit are the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, which is like an actual Tibetan monastery perched high in the mountains.

Sara Welch at Mt. PichinchaCity you would drop everything to see

Any place in India or sub-Saharan Africa. I’ve never been to either and would love to go!

Special skills

Portuguese fluency. Also, my sense of humor (although not everyone gets it).

Most visited websites

  • songza.com. I listen to “Ambient Bass” or “Ambient Music for Reading” to drown out distractions while I’m writing.

Something about you that surprises people

Back in the ’90s, I helped with research for a book called The Drag Queens of New York. While traveling in Romania on a press trip, I got roped into judging the Miss Transylvania beauty contest. And I once attended an exorcism in Borneo. Believe it or not, it was the most boring eight hours I ever spent.

Sara Welch in Perge, TurkeyThree things you can’t travel without

An eye mask, inflatable neck pillow and earplugs.

Number of trips traveled on

I haven’t been on any Arrangements Abroad trips. I have traveled to more than 30 countries, though.

Art Underground

By Ingrid Ahlgren

While commuting on the New York City subway the other day, I admired a poster by artist Sophie Blackall. The poster, part of the MTA’s Arts for Transit program, is just one of the creations straphangers can enjoy in New York. The city’s subway system is home to oodles of art, ranging from the gorgeous mosaics in many stations to talented musicians who perform on trains and platforms to poetry inside the cars.

New York isn’t the only city where travelers can enjoy art on their way from one place to another. Boston’s Green Street Gallery, a non-profit, artist-run space, is located in a subway station.  In Chicago, a program called Art on Track transforms a train into a moving gallery once a year.

Stockholm subway art Paris MetroOutside of the United States, there’s also great art to discover while using public transit. Many of Montreal’s subway stations boast sculptures and other works of art. Stockholm’s tunnelbana, which has artwork in 90 of its 100 stations, has been called the “world’s longest art exhibit.” In Lisbon, contemporary art is featured in all metro stations.

Sometimes, the subway stations themselves are works of art. Paris’ Metro is known for its elegant art-nouveau entryways. In Bilbao, Spain, many new stations have been designed by Sir Norman Foster. The unique curved glass structures at street level are known as “Fosteritos.” Some of Moscow’s legendary undergrounds have chandeliers and marble-clad walls. And in Dubai, metro stations have modern designs but incorporate some of the region’s traditional architectural elements such as alleyways and arches.

Which of the world’s subway systems do you think are worth a detour?