Courtney Driessen Blooming Prairie, MN '12
Perhaps asking the question, "Why am I here?" at the start of a blog might be taken poorly, but I feel that it is an apt question for anyone studying abroad. This question was posed to us, a group of mostly English and a few Science majors, by our professor Janet Ericksen. She, of course, was asking from an academic angle, but the question applies to each of us on this trip on a more personal level. Why am I here?
I have traveled 3,898 miles to spend 24 days in a foreign country. I may find myself in situations that are unknown to me and I may even experience culture shock. I am traveling with a group of 18 other students that I don't know very well and will be living in a house with 8 of these students. Everyday I will spend 3 hours in a classroom learning side by side with these same individuals. We may find others that have different opinions or we may disagree. Sharing bathrooms or kitchen space could drive us to frustration with a feeling that we have lost some privacy. With so many unknowns and the possibility of conflict, why am I here?
I am here because the potentials for growth and learning far out-rule any possibility or potential for conflict or discomfort. I will have the chance to stand in the same places that I will be learning about in books. I can touch the same walls as ancient Romans, Anglo-Saxons, or even the Britons. I will visit abbeys and islands that housed some of the greatest minds of medieval York. I will meet new people with different views on life and the world. I have the opportunity to expand my understanding of the world in which I live. As a citizen of the world, I will grow in understanding, experiencing first hand a different way of life. This trip will provide opportunities to push myself to great potentials, both academically and personally.
This is why I am here.