Tales from Abroad:  Spring 2015 Jun12

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Tales from Abroad: Spring 2015

I would love to share everything I have done this semester abroad, but I have no doubt

that cataloguing all of my experiences would take up an entire book. For brevity’s sake, I’ll try to

provide a few highlights of my favorite adventures. I’ve hiked a mountain in a secluded area of

Norway. I’ve walked the same walk C. S. Lewis walked when he converted to theism. I’ve seen

the areas that Bram Stoker used in his novel, Dracula. I’ve been thoroughly spooked by the

Crypt of the Capuchin Monks in Rome. I’ve been to the Emirates Stadium and watched and

watched Arsenal play live. But the most significant part of this journey has been simply living an

ordinary life amongst these people who are so different from me.

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Watching Arsenal play against Leicester City

Studying abroad has helped me expand my horizons so much, and appreciate things I

never used to notice. While originally, I found England somewhat overwhelming because of how

different things were, I now feel much more at home here. I already know there will be a part of

me that will always long for England when I return home. But living in England has also had a

rather unexpected effect on me: I now have an even better appreciation for American culture. As

much as I really don’t want to go back home quite yet, I am looking forward to certain things in

America (like free refills at restaurants). Studying abroad has shown me that every culture has

something to offer. Even though a place might seem strange and backwards and even alien, if

you let go of your inhibitions and allow yourself to truly experience the culture, you will

undoubtedly learn to appreciate it.

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St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome

Studying abroad has also taught me a lot of things about myself. It’s shown me new

passions that I never expected. I used to think being alone was the dullest way someone could

spend their time. But now one of my favorite pastimes in Oxford is to go to a café and drink a

cup of tea while enjoying the quiet solitude. I still love being with a large group of friends,

laughing and telling stories. If anything, I appreciate that more now that I’ve discovered another

way to spend my time.

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Addison’s Walk in Magdalen College where C. S. Lewis Became a Theist

Oxford has also helped me rediscover old habits that used to mean so much to me. When

I was younger, I loved reading books and trying to write my own stories. As I got older and

classes got more difficult, I slowly started to put that part of my life to the side. Finally, as a

result of college classes and a job, I almost stopped reading altogether. While abroad, I started to

read some classic English literature on the advice of a friend who had studied in Oxford. It’s

been an amazing experience because I had almost forgotten how much I loved literature. One of

my favorite memories of this trip might very well be reading Dracula in a café in city center.

I am already feeling heartbroken writing this blog post because it means my semester

abroad has almost finished. As much as I look forward to seeing my family and friends in Texas

and telling them all my stories, I really don’t want to leave yet. This place feels too much like

home now. But I’m taking comfort in knowing that what I’ve experienced here will live with me

forever.