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
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
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.