Study Abroad Changed My Life Sep24


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Study Abroad Changed My Life

10301447_10152433476140040_56914583613694291_n“Study abroad changed my life,” is a phrase that is thrown around by students all the time when they’ve returned from an incredible trip to somewhere-other-than-America, and I can certainly understand why, but it’s a simplistic phrase that, in its broadness, has lost meaning. Of course studying abroad changed your life, I think. So does every choice you make on a daily basis. Our daily experiences build who we are. We shape ourselves by the opportunities we take, those we don’t, the decisions we make, and the experiences we’re given. But there truly is something unique about the experience gained when traveling. It is so easy to get caught up in a routine and to allow our environment to become like part of our very DNA. In traveling, we are forced to look at ourselves from the perspective of another country. We are forced to really consider that the things we understand to be10177419_10152428619970040_7012628374684181151_n normal or strange may be just the opposite somewhere else. But one of the most powerful gifts we are given in traveling is the opportunity to look at history from a different angle. Living in one country, history is inevitably limited. While this wasn’t new information to me, it was still tough to walk through the streets of Dresden, Germany and see churches and opera houses that had been rebuilt from burnt bricks and stones after our own nation had bombed them. Of course, there are reasons for doing anything, but without traveling, it is nearly impossible to see history from anything but the perspective of one’s own nation.


Besides Dresden and Leipzig, I visited Berlin, Weimar (and Buchenwald), Erfurt, Eisenach, Paris, and Z├╝rich. We saw countless sites dedicated to talented composers, 10356345_10152463634125040_5924939293678171548_nlistened to and watched incredible live performances of music we had studied, stood in awe of immense cathedrals and other cultural buildings with amazing architecture, and smiled a lot as we had the chance to see things about which we had only read. Travel is a powerful thing. Simply walking into places you have never been and having conversations with people whose culture and native language are different has the ability to teach an individual more than some classes might. So, returning from Study Abroad in Leipzig, I have to admit, in many ways, it did “change my life.” It has given me a slightly more complete perspective of the world. I wouldn’t have expected anything less, and I look forward to doing it again soon.