An Ode to Studying Abroad

Photo Courtesy of Delphine Burns
Photo Courtesy of Delphine Burns

by Delphine Burns


            As classes come to an end, finals approach, and Fall Semester comes to a close, it is sometimes difficult to find time to spend last moments with dear friends and to relax. It is so easy to shut myself away in my room and try desperately to finish my five academic papers by their quickly-approaching due dates. However, as I think more about it, it’s really important I find time to see my friends, hang out in my favorite places, and say goodbye to Pitzer for a while.

            In the spring, I will be studying abroad in Parma, Italy. I have known since before I began college that I wanted to study abroad. However, now that it is becoming so real, it’s scary. Yesterday, the Pitzer travel agent sent me my official tickets from San Francisco, to New York, to Milan. I was in utter shock. When you plan to do something for so long, it seems that the time will never come. But, here I am with finals to take, boxes to pack, and friends to say goodbye to for at least five months. Many of my friends are studying abroad in the spring as well, and that makes the goodbye process even more bittersweet. We are all on the brink of embarking on our own, unique adventures. When we see each other next, we will have stories to share that currently seem unfathomable.

            When we came to Pitzer, we had no idea what to expect. Many of us were scared, many excited, and most of us were both. We bonded over the uncertainty, the exhilaration, and the magic of beginning a new chapter in a new place with many new people. Over the past two and a half years, we’ve grown, laughed, cried, and of course, studied together. We have transformed into people we never knew we were capable of becoming, and shared experienced our high school selves never dreamed of having. This makes it hard to imagine what it will be like when we return from our adventures with new friends, new life experiences, and perhaps new outlooks on life.

            For my last Peel article of the semester, I wanted to write an ode to studying abroad. Not just for me, but for all of us. Although our emotions about the entire ordeal surely differ, I hope this article illustrates some certainty and common ground. Much like entering college, studying abroad may make us feel like we are alone, but we are not.

            Having never travelled to Italy, I am not sure what to expect, and I’ll admit I am absolutely terrified. It’s that feeling of starting college times a thousand: shock, exhilaration, fear, and ecstasy. It’s a feeling I know, but multiplied. It’s a feeling I love, but a feeling that’s simultaneously one of the most challenging feelings to feel. The best way to describe it is as the unknown, and I’m ready to venture into it once more, knowing my community will be there for me when I return.

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