This past summer, I had the experience of a lifetime. I decided to study abroad. Since most of you don't know me, I'll just come right out and say it: I am the biggest homebody on the face of the earth. I can think of every excuse to not leave home, my bed is too comfy, I'll miss my dogs, what would my family possibly do without me, etc. etc. So, I surprised even myself when I struck an interest in the Oxford/York Program led by Dr. Robin Bott.
It all started with my decision to go on the May Tour--due to the fact that the annual trip was hitting up Italy and Greece in 2015. Then I was told about the Oxford and York program and how I could leave from Greece and travel straight there, as the program started right after the trip. My flight was already paid for, so all I would have to do is move my departure date to July and find a flight from Athens to London. With reassurance from my parents that I could do it, and with reassurance from Dr. Bott that it would be worth it, I was sold.
Let me tell you, it was the best leap of faith I have ever took. I am beyond glad I did it. I left May 7th for the May Tour, and luckily my parents decided that they wanted to go as well, so I was able to travel with them for almost two weeks of my nine week departure. When we went our separate ways, it was pretty tough, but I knew it would be the experience of a lifetime.
I can't describe how much I learned in the six and a half weeks I studied abroad. I developed new ways to think and was able to stand on my own. My directionally challenged self learned how to get around unfamiliar cities, heck I navigated my way around Paris without getting lost. I was able to go to new places that were a train ride away. I visited churches that were hundreds of years older than the United States. I was able to study what I was interested in, The History of World War II in London, which was surreal. I learned so much from a perspective I had never been in, and my tutor helped me so much along the way. I was sad to leave Oxford, but York was even better than I imagined. This medieval city was spectacular, and I don't just throw that word around. The food was great, and every building you went in had some tie to the past. I learned about the Roman occupation of York through the Vikings and so much more. It was amazing to travel the countryside and see all of the history.
The last part of the trip included a getaway to the coastal town of Whitby. This was my favorite part, it was placed right on the North Sea, and there was so many interesting things to do. The nine weeks I spent abroad taught me so much about myself and allowed me to make so many new friends from Adrian College that I never knew before. There's so much more I could say about my experience, but I didn't want to write a book! I was so far out of my comfort zone, yet I succeeded. It taught me that I can truly do and achieve anything. I am forever grateful for this experience, and encourage anyone thinking of studying abroad to JUST DO IT! I promise you will not regret it, it is the ultimate investment in your future. If you have any questions about Study Abroad or my experience, don't hesitate to ask!