“Every Day the River Changes: Four Weeks Down the Magdalena” traces SPO Class of 2019 graduate Jordan Salama’s voyage along Colombia’s most important river and exemplifies the opportunities students have to pursue their passions at Princeton.
Jordan's time with SPO
For his senior thesis, Salama, then a Spanish and Portuguese major, produced a nonfiction book of travel writing about the people and places along Colombia’s main river, the Magdalena. "Every Day the River Changes,” an adapted version of Salama’s thesis, was published by Catapult Books in 2021 and has now been chosen as Princeton University's Pre-read for 2022!
Salama took his first trip to Colombia for an independent project during the summer after his first year at Princeton, with funding from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. The summer after his junior year he returned to Colombia, with senior thesis funding, to travel the 950 miles of the Magdalena River. Trips to Cuba, Spain and Portugal as part of his Princeton courses fueled Salama’s penchant for storytelling. Christina Lee, now Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, observed how easily Salama started conversations with strangers, often using soccer as a medium for connection. “I think that as soon as Jordan enters a new site, he has an almost instinctive need to hear a story that brings that particular space to life,” said Lee, who became Salama’s thesis adviser and remains a mentor.
In addition to being delighted to have been a part of Salama's journey, the entire Spanish and Portuguese Department is eager to see his journey continue within and beyond the FitzRandolph Gate. In reference to the class of 2026, Salama said, "I cannot wait to discuss my book with them and hear what they have to say.“ We are certain he will be a source of inspiration to this and future classes here at Princeton and SPO!