Why I’m Studying Abroad in Europe

After I traveled to Europe in high school, I knew that I wanted to spend a semester abroad while I was in college. I decided to attend Goucher College in Baltimore, drawn in by their study abroad requirement. While I loved hearing fellow students talk about their adventures, Goucher wasn’t the place for me. The next year, I headed off to Susquehanna University: a much better fit that still has a study abroad requirement. Through it all, I knew that I wanted to study abroad in Europe. Why?

1. The memories I already treasure…

The Alps, 2013

Even though my first trip to Europe was more than four years ago, I still tell stories about it like I went this past spring. I still smile thinking about the mad search to find matzo in a Munich department store and feel twitching pain when I remember running in the Alps.

2…and to make more memories to treasure.

Ponte Vecchio Bridge, 2015

Though I have watched people leave and come back from being abroad, I can’t fathom the impact that an entire semester abroad can have on a person.

3. The food

World’s Best Pastry, 2013

From the best gnocchi I’ve ever had (served in Switzerland by a man wearing a zebra tie) to “tomato soup” that was really just a bowl of sauce, I never know what I’ll end up with as a (picky) vegetarian…but there’s always the fresh gelato or pastries for about one euro. Who says they can’t be a meal?

4. The friendships

Vatican City, Easter Sunday 2015

When I traveled to Italy and Greece my senior year, I didn’t have any close friends going on the trip. There were a few people I had mutual friends with and another few that I could have called acquaintances. By the end of the trip, we had a little group that even planned a Secret Santa like souvenir exchange called “Secret Pope.” Something about sharing a new place with others makes you bond deeper and faster.

5. The culture

Heidelberg, 2013

Museums, architecture, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, hostels, languages that I don’t speak, a man dressed as the Easter bunny playing the accordion in Heidelberg…

6. To live in another country

Somewhere in Greece (?), 2015

As an (almost) twenty year old, I don’t have any commitments that inhibit my ability to leave the United States and live in a foreign country for four-ish months. Later in life, that could be a little more complicated.

7. To quench my wanderlust

Vienna, 2013

If I don’t get out of town every few months, I start to go a little stir crazy…planning imaginary trips to random places, even going to the extent of looking for the best-priced flights. Everything changes when you can get to Pisa in an hour and Rome in less than two.

8. To work on my bucket list

The Parthenon, 2015

The ability to flit off to other cities or countries on the weekends could cross quite a few things off my bucket list over the course of a semester.

9. To take classes that my home university doesn’t offer

A class just about the history and importance of pasta? The chance to learn about curation in a town that was crucial in the inception of the world’s first museums? Susquehanna University and Selinsgrove, PA just don’t have those offerings.

10. Because I can.

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