From Courtney Egelston’s blog.
As the deadline for SU study abroad approaches, I urge students who are still unsure if they’re interested to apply. I know it’s expensive (my bank account dipped to $0.35 last week) and I know you love America and your friends and all that SU has to offer, but trust me, it’s worth it. About once a week my friends and I have the, “I’m so glad we came abroad” talk.
Studying abroad opened my eyes to the wonders of the world. I sunbathed under the Eiffel Tower, stuck my toes in the Mediterranean, looked over the Cliffs of Moher, listened to speakers at the European Union, and cohabitated with the British for four months. I’m still reflecting on my time here, but I know being abroad has shown me how much the world has to offer. These past months have been a glimpse into life beyond the USA, a tiny sample of the people, cultures, and history of the world. It’s made me evaluate what I think it means to be American, and it’s pushed me to adjust to life in a foreign country without any family or close friends.
I’ve learned so much more in this city than I ever thought possible. Being a SU student doesn’t force you to live in the city of Syracuse. Your world at SU can be very small if you let it, expanding no more than a few blocks past Marshall and Euclid. Being abroad, I’ve learned to navigate a huge metropolis and how to take advantage of one of the most famous cities in the world. I came without any of my best friends, and it forced me to form quick but strong friendships with the people I’m with. I’ve met people from Britain, France, Australia, and Germany and hang out regularly with the students in our program from Wake Forest and the University of Colorado at Bolder. It’s been like freshman year all over again, a daze of new friends, too many photos, and lots of memories.
Before this semester, I questioned if I could live in a big city, but now I know better than to impose false limitations on myself. More than that, I learned that people, regardless of the country they call home, are still the same. I find similar mannerisms in any country I visit, and that friendliness is universal. I love SU and I’m excited to get back, but I am so grateful that I decided to go abroad and hope that more students at SU realize the benefits the program has to offer. I’ve learned a lot of lessons in my courses at SU, studying current affairs, evaluating political and religious philosophy, memorizing AP style; but what has triumphed coursework is meeting the challenges of moving away from home, learning to accept and understand others, discovering what I can handle on my own, and growing up.