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Study Abroad

By Patrick Clark
On September 7, 2011

I vaguely remember as a first year, over three years ago now, going to see a speaker at the beginning of the semester who was supposed to tell us how to make our "college experience" the best it could be. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I basically remember nothing from that hour in the GSC auditorium save one thing: study abroad.

I'm not sure why that idea stuck with me other than maybe the fact that I love to travel and also get bored after being in one place for too long. E i t h e r way, I was determined from that point on to "get a w a y " during my college career. This past summer, I finally did it. F o r two months I had the greatest time of my life seeing 11 different cities in eight countries across Europe. Even though I was doing a decent amount of studying for

this duration it didn't diminish my cultural experiences in the slightest. I saw sights like the Eiffel Tower, the Northern Swiss Alps, the home of Mozart, the Prague Castle and Vatican City. Now, I'm not here to brag

about my trip but to tell you the reader, that you're missing out if you haven't had the chance to go and study in or just explore a culture other than ours. There is something about taking a political science class in Paris that just doesn't compare to taking it in a classroom in Alter. (No offense to our wonderful political science profs.)

Being able to actually talk with French students and hear what they really think of us and our culture allowed me to consider the impressions that we give to the rest of the world. It allowed me to correct some common misconceptions about us, which was quite a liberating experience. By the way, the French don't all wear berets and carry baguettes in their back pockets. I implore everyone to consider studying abroad before graduation. For me, and I hope for you, it was one of the greatest life decisions I ever made. There is more to learn than what can be taught to you in a classroom. The world is an endless encyclopedia that is just yearning to be explored. I can only agree with what Mark Twain once said, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."


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