Meet Our Talented Team: Katarina Lopes


Katarina Lopes in one of her favorite cities: Porto, Portugal

Meet Katarina (“Kat”) Lopes, who is is currently an intern in Arrangements Abroad’s marketing and communications department.

  • When did you start interning at Arrangements Abroad, and what is your position here? I started interning at Arrangements Abroad on June 3rd , and I work in the communications department. When I’m at school at Loyola University Maryland, I work for a catering company.
  • What are you studying? I am a marketing major with a minor in environmental and sustainability studies.
  • What is your hometown? My hometown is Union, NJ.
  • What is your favorite travel-related book? The Alchemist. It taught me to pursue my dreams by following what my heart wants, and that every encounter you have will have a lesson for you.
  • Which cities do you most recommend to friends? I have two: Porto and Florence.
  • Is there a city you would drop everything to see? I would love to visit Marrakesh because I think it has a rich culture and I love its architecture.
  • What do you enjoy working on the most for Arrangements Abroad? I like sorting out images from brochures and working with data.
  • Do you have any special skills? Playing volleyball; playing guitar; and speaking three languages. In addition to English, the other languages I speak are Spanish and Portuguese. I also plan on learning Italian, especially when I study abroad in Rome during my spring semester.
  • What are your three most visited websites or favorite apps? Netflix, YouTube, and Instagram.
  • What is something about you that surprises people? I’m a pescatarian.
  • Favorite trips that you’ve taken? Portugal, Grand Cayman, and Paris.
  • What would your dream trip be? To go on a South African safari. I’d also love to visit Australia and Japan.
  • What are three things you can’t travel without? My phone, camera, and a book.
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Kat in Barcelona, Spain

Interested in finding out more about opportunities, including internships, at Arrangements Abroad? Visit the employment section of our website.



Portugal Restaurant Recommendations

panorama of beautiful Porto with traditional boats. PortugalPortugal is known for its five-star cuisine. You may wish to enjoy a meal at leisure at one of these restaurants, which specialize in everything from Portuguese delicacies to Asian fusion.


100 ManeirasRua do Teixeira 35, 1200-459

This intimate eatery serve a nine-course tasting menu of seasonal Portuguese dishes

JNCQUOIAv. da Liberdade 182-184

This fashionable spot offers “timeless artisan food with clever twists”

Olivier Avenida, Rua Júlio César Machado 7

Noted chef Olivier da Costa’s restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere

Yakuza (sushi), Rua da Escola Politécnica 231

Another Olivier da Costa restaurant, Yakuza specializes in sushi, sashimi, and East-West fusion cuisine

Loco (one Michelin star), Rua dos Navegantes 53-B

Alexandre Silva, who won the first Top Chef de Portugal competition, offers two enticing tasting menus

Belcanto (two Michelin stars), Largo de São Carlos 10

In the heart of historic Lisbon, this sophisticated restaurant serves “revisited Portuguese cuisine”

Cervejaria Liberdade, Tivoli Avenida Liberdade

This elegant restaurant specializes in fresh seafood sourced from the Portuguese coastline

GambrinusRua das Portas de Santo Antão 23

This classic spot offers superb seafood and other local specialties in a comfortable setting

Darwin’s CafeAv. de Brasília Ala B

Known for its lovely views of the Tagus River, Darwin’s Cafe serves modern European cuisine

Tapisco, Rua Dom Pedro V 80

Created by chef Henrique Sá Pessoa, cozy Tapisco celebrates both Spanish and Portuguese gastronomy


Antiqvvm (one Michelin star)Rua de Entre-Quintas 220

Overlooking the Douro River, this lovely restaurant is known for its excellent tasting menu

Cantinho do AvillezRua Mouzinho da Silveira, 166 R/C

This unpretentious place serves exceptional Portuguese cuisine “inspired and influenced by travel”

Cafeína, Rua do Padrão 100

Among Porto’s best restaurants, elegant Cafeína specializes in contemporary European creations

TerraRua do Padrão 103

Split into two floors, Terra is known for top-quality Mediterranean food (upstairs) and sushi (downstairs)

FlowRua da Conceição 63

This relaxed restaurant and bar dishes up Mediterranean specialities, Portuguese favorites, and sushi

OficinaRua de Miguel Bombarda 282

Art and gastronomy mix at Oficina, which serves innovative cuisine in a revamped auto repair shop

For a full list of restaurants in Portugal that have been awarded Michelin stars:


Travel with The Met . . . and Arrangements Abroad!


Venice, Grand Canal

This week, we had a big request from our flagship client, The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Web copy and images for 9 upcoming Travel with the Met programs to Venice (pictured above), Berlin, Iran, Cuba (2 programs by land, 1 by sea), Portugal & Spain, Burma & Indonesia, and Morocco.

Thanks to a coordinated effort between our Operations, Sales, and Communications teams, we managed to meet The Met’s tight deadline. Now that it’s done and we can relax a bit, we thought a photo-driven blog post might be nice for a Friday afternoon. Here are some places we’ll be taking travelers in 2017 on the aforementioned trips:

Bagan temples

Bagan pagodas

Bagan, Burma (Myanmar) is known as “the city of a thousand pagodas.” But those are just the ones that are left–there used to be thousands more!


Fishermen in Cienfuegos. Photo by Alistair Kitchen.

We’ve been taking groups to Cuba by land since 1999, and now we’re offering a unique cruise of the country’s less-developed southern coast, from Cienfuegos to Santiago. Think rugged mountains, pristine beaches, picture-perfect colonial architecture … and all the pleasures of an intimate luxury yacht. For more on this exciting program, click here.

Merida_Spain_by_Juan Antonio F. Segal

Merida, Spain. Photo by Juan Antonio F. Segal.

Maybe you’ve been to Portugal or Spain, but have you ever been to Alentejo (pronounced “A-len-TAY-zho”)? Or Extremadura (“Es-tray-ma-DOO-ra”)? These off-the-beaten-path regions of Portugal and Spain, which border each other, offer cultural influences from Celtic to Roman to Moorish to French. Mérida, former capital of the Roman province of Lusitania, is just one of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites visited on this program.

Vakil mosque, Shiraz, Iran

Vakil mosque, Shiraz, Iran

Like Cuba, Iran is a favorite destination for Met travelers, but next year we’re doing something new: “Undiscovered Iran,” led by The Met’s head curator for the Department of Islamic Art. The program begins in northeastern Iran at Mashad, the country’s holiest city, and goes to Nishan (to see the tomb of Omar “A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou” Khayyam), Kashan, Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Pasargadae, and Persepolis.

For more information about any of these trips, contact us at or 800-221-1944. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Meet One of Our Tour Coordinators, Kalea Wiseman

Kalea in Patagonia

Kalea in Patagonia

Kalea Wiseman just celebrated her one-year anniversary at Academic Arrangements Abroad, where she started out as an Assistant Tour Coordinator. Prior to joining the firm, Kalea worked designing, selling, and leading educational trips to Cuba. She attended the University of San Diego—where she earned degrees in political science and Spanish—and also studied abroad in Havana, Cuba, and Montevideo, Uruguay. In early 2016, Kalea will become a Tour Development Coordinator working in Cuba and New York.

What is your hometown?

The Pacific Northwest is my homeland. I was born in Seattle, Washington, and raised in Salem, Oregon. I’ve traveled around that whole part of the country.

Who would play you in a movie?

Being the girl from Dirty Dancing Havana Nights would be my ideal situation.

City you most recommend to friends

Havana. Always Havana. It’s just such an enchanting, mysterious, welcoming place. It surprises me every time I go. It also changes every time I go.

What city would you drop everything to see?

I would love to go to Istanbul. I have a dear friend from college who is from Turkey, and she always brought back the most beautiful jewelry and crafts. I think it would be interesting to visit.

What do you enjoy working on the most for Arrangements Abroad?

I really love tour directing, which is probably why I’ll be doing a lot more of it next year. I love helping people have really interesting and unique experiences on the ground.

Special skills

Salsa dancing, speaking Spanish, and enjoying life!

Most visited websites

Cuba Absolutely, OnCuba, and The Havana Times  for information about Cuba, and The New York Times for general news.

Kalea WisemanWhat is something about you that surprises people?

The first time people hear me speak Spanish. Native Spanish speakers are especially surprised because I look so American, but I speak Spanish with a strong Cuban accent.

What are some things you can’t travel without?

A few nice dresses (they’re easy to wear, but they look good), a notebook (to take notes about trips and remember details and experiences), and a sense of humor.

Number of trips traveled on

While I was studying abroad in Montevideo, I traveled around Uruguay and also visited Buenos Aires and Patagonia in Argentina. Other countries I’ve visited include Spain, Portugal, and Mexico.

With Academic Arrangements Abroad, I’ve taken three trips to Cuba, with another one coming up soon and many more to come.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’m looking forward to spending more time in Cuba and working with our really experienced Tour Directors there.

Kalea in Cuba

Kalea in Cuba

Meet Danielle Dybiec

Danielle with vintage car

Danielle with vintage car


Danielle Dybiec started working at Academic Arrangements Abroad in the summer of 2013 as a Manager of Tour Operations. Her background is in performing arts management.  Previously, Danielle was the Assistant Director of Operations at the New 42nd Street Studios, New York’s premier rehearsal studio facility for the professional performing arts community. She also worked for nine years in Artist Services at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).

What is your hometown?  Pittsburgh, PA.  The “City of Bridges” (more than Venice!) and home of Primanti’s sandwiches, Heinz ketchup, Steelers, and Andy Warhol. During my junior year of college, I lived a few houses down from his childhood home.

Who would play you in a movie?  Really they should just cast me because it would be fun to put my acting training to use again!

City you most recommend to friends.  These days, it would have to be Porto, Portugal. Terrific wine, lovely people, beautiful location, lots of history… and Casa da Música is incredible.

City you would drop everything to see  Anywhere in Morocco.

Danielle in PortugalWhich AAA programs do you enjoy working on the most? I fell in love with Portugal after traveling there twice this spring. The first trip was for a Portuguese travel conference, and the second was to tour direct our inaugural AmaVida Douro River cruise program. I also worked on the operations side of that trip, and I’m really enjoying planning our Fall 2015 AmaVida trip, which is going to be even more amazing!

Special skills  Finding the humor in practically anything. Scoring front row tickets at BAM.  Playing myself in the movie someone is apparently making about me.

Most visited websites,,

Something about you that surprises people  You can be from Pittsburgh and escape without an accent. But I do have a soft spot for some Pittsburghese, like “nebby” (nosy or curious) and “redd up” (to clean) n’at (and that).

Three things you can’t travel without   Camera, printed maps and guide books, local arts schedule

Number of trips traveled on I’ve been to over 20 countries in the Americas and Europe and lived in England a few times. So far with Arrangements Abroad I’ve been a Tour Director on two trips, including the recent AmaVida cruise in May 2014.

Anything else you’d like to add?  You never return from a trip the same person you were when you left.  And in the words of Oscar Wilde, “A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias.”

Danielle with red scarf

Returning to 82nd & Fifth

Bhutan photo from Jim FriedlanderThis past winter, we blogged about The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new web series, 82nd & Fifth. In that post, we promised to keep you updated on other curators who would be Traveling with the Met, so we were excited to see more familiar faces on 82nd & 5th. Morrison Heckscher was the lecturer for our September “Houses of the Irish Aristocracy” program, and Kurt Behrendt traveled to Nepal & Bhutan with us in October.

Photo of Danielle Kisluk-GrosheideThe web series also showcases talented lecturers who will be leading some of the upcoming “Travel with the Met” programs. In early May, Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide will be the Met’s lecturer on “Enchanting Douro River,” a cruise aboard the luxury riverboat M.S. AmaVida. A curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, she discusses an elegant table in her web episode, “Identity.”  You can also listen to Daniëlle muse on her relationship with trees in her Connections episode, “Trees.”

Assistant curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints Freya Spira will join us in Berlin and Leipzig from May 30 to June 7. Her episode, “Exposure,” examines the details of German artist Albrecht Dürer’s 1504 print “Adam and Eve.”

Image of Denise LeidyDuring the summer, Denise Leidy, curator in the Department of Asian Art, will join Met travelers to explore fascinating Mongolia in summer 2014. Her 82nd & Fifth episode, “Divinity,” examines a Liao dynasty arhat (luohan) statue.

Deniz Beyazit, assistant curator in the Department of Islamic Art, will explore Turkey with Met travelers in September 2014.  Deniz’s episode, “Getting Lost,” is about the tughra (official signature) of Sultan Süleiman the Magnificent.

Barbara Drake Boehm, who will sail with Met travelers on our Catania to Valletta cruise in October 2014, is curator in the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters. She has also been on past trips with Academic Arrangements Abroad and the Met to destinations including Sicily. Her web episode, “Predestined,”  looks at an intricate copper plaque with angels.

Image of Mike HearnLater in the fall, Maxwell K. (Mike) Hearn, Douglas Dillon Chairman of the Department of Asian Art, travels with us to Vietnam and Cambodia in fall 2014.  His episode, “Eternity,” focuses on a Chinese scroll that depicts a cloudy mountain. An expert in Asian art, Mike’s reflections are certain to enhance our Southeast Asian adventure.

At the end of 2014, Alice Cooney Frelinhuysen, Anthony W. and Lulu Wang Curator of American Decorative Arts, will join us for a New Year’s trip to Russia. Her web episode looks at a hair ornament created by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Troika rideWe hope you’ll join other Met travelers for one of these exciting journeys in 2014. You can get a behind-the-scenes look at past trips through the Travel with the Met blog   or find out more about upcoming trips on the museum’s website.

12 Top Tips for the Iberian Peninsula: Fado Music, Seafood, Museums & More

Landscape in Douro ValleyThe Iberian Peninsula offers fine wine, wonderful cuisine, and remarkable art and architecture. Academic Arrangements Abroad will visit Portugal and Spain during our “Enchanting Douro River” cruise from May 5 to 14, 2014. Here are a few travel tips for major cities including the Portuguese capital of Lisbon; Porto, which is Portugal’s second-largest metropolis; and the Spanish capital of Madrid.


Best museum you’ve probably never heard of: Located in the Madre de Deus Convent, the fascinating National Tile Museum is renowned for its blue and white glazed panels that depict the life of St. Francis.

Fado at OceanarioMost unusual place to listen to traditional fado music: The Oceánario de Lisboa has live fado music at the aquarium on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The price is 60 Euros person (without dinner) and 80 Euros per person (with dinner).

Great spot for art lovers: If you love art, be sure to check out the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, an extraordinary collection that includes masterpieces Mr. Gulbenkian brought from the Hermitage in the 1920s.

Amazing seafood restaurant:  Cervejaria Ramiro serves up specialties including grilled giant tiger shrimp, crayfish, rock crab or spider crab, which you can wash down with a Sagres beer or glass of fine Portuguese wine. To avoid a long wait at this unpretentious spot, go early or after 10 p.m.  Closed Mondays.


????????????????????????????????????????Must-see attraction: The Casa de Música concert hall, home to the city’s three symphony orchestras, was designed by Rem Koolhaas. In 2005, the building was inaugurated by singer and songwriter Lou Reed, who played the first concert at the new venue. Today the Casa de Música is a space for all types of music ranging from classical to fado to rock.

A lofty place to take a photo: Climb the Torre dos Clérigos for great views of the entire city as well as across the river to Vila Nova de Gaia. The Baroque tower is open daily from 10 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

A fun way to get around: Consider taking one of Porto’s trams, most of which date from the late 1930s. The tram network’s three different lines pass by many of the city’s major landmarks. A single ticket (valid for one trip) costs 2.50 Euros. 

Spot for a unique souvenir: Porto Signs sells items such as shoes, belts and handbags crafted from cork. The store – which specializes in products of Portuguese origin – also has ceramic art, traditional toys, gourmet foods, wines and more.


Cibeles Fountain in MadridReasonably priced comfort food: Specializing in Galician cuisine, Taberna Maceiras (Calle de Las Huertas, 66, 28014) is fun and lively.  The menus are handwritten on wooden palettes, and the walls are loaded with nautical themed decor. Wine is served in small ceramic bowls. The restaurant is known for its delicious pulpo (octopus).

Sweet place for a treat: Established in 1855, El Riojano (Calle Mayor 10, 28013) has lots of charm. The café has to-go pastries and candy in the front and a cute seating area in the back.  Relax over a café con leche and one of the fabulous pastries such as the napolitana de chocolate (similar to a chocolate croissant).

Lesser-known museum: If you’ve already been to the Prado, check out Museo Sorolla, which was once the home of Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla.  Explore the beautiful tiled fountains and gardens in front of the house before continuing inside to admire the excellent collection of Post-Impressionist and early 20th-century art. It’s a small museum, but worth visiting for a couple of hours.

Market you shouldn’t miss: In the heart of the posh Salamanca neighborhood, Mercado de la Paz (Calle de Ayala, 28, 28001) is full of breads, cheeses, wines, olives and all other manner of delicacies. It’s a great place to pick up some edibles to take on a picnic to Retiro Park.

To find out more about Academic Arrangements Abroad’s upcoming Douro River voyage, visit our website or call us at 800-221-1944.

Meet Chelsea Bryant

Chelsea at VersaillesChelsea Bryant began working at Academic Arrangements Abroad in July 2012. As an Assistant Tour Coordinator, she focuses on facilitating reservations and helping passengers on the firm’s travel programs. 

Right now, she is working on programs to Thailand and Cambodia, Chile, and the Baltic capitals, among others.

Hometown: Amherst, Massachusetts

City I would recommend to friends: I know the most about Madrid as I lived there for several years, but I highly recommend Lisbon, Portugal, as well.  I didn’t know what to expect when I first went, but it enthralled me–the scenery, the food, the people.  It’s relatively cheap, many people speak English, and the Pastéis de Belém (egg tarts) are to die for.

City I would drop everything to see: Tokyo, Japan.  It’s #1 on my list!

Most recent tour: I traveled to Cuba in January 2013.  My next trip with AAA will be a cruise on Sea Cloud II from Rome to Naples in May.

Special skills: Playing the piano and speaking Spanish

Favorite travel book: It isn’t a travel book per se, but I love Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.  His stories about living abroad and learning a new language are hilarious, and I really identify with them, having gone through a similar situation.

Most visited websites: Tastespotting (looking for recipes is my guilty pleasure), Pinterest for inspiration, Buzzfeed for sloth-related posts.

Chelsea at Zion National ParkSomething that surprises people: I did not own a smart phone until three months ago.

Three things I can’t travel without: snacks, a journal, iPod

Number of trips: Many, especially in Europe, but there are large areas of the earth I have yet to cover…