From January 2018 to May 2018 I had the privilege of studying in three different countries for six weeks each as a part of the CIEE Open Campus Program. I studied in Paris, France; Cape Town, South Africa; and lastly in London, England. This semester was a journey of a lifetime. I traveled to new places, tried different foods, and strengthened my social network.
One aspect of this program I enjoyed was the plethora of co-curriculars I was able to participate in. My favorite of all these were co-curriculars related to the performing arts. I got to see everything from the Broadway production Wicked to a theatrical performance concerning the Fees Must Fall Movement in South Africa.
While studying abroad in these different parts of the world I also gained a greater appreciation of spoken words and rap music and how both can be used as a form of protest. I listened to individuals from different cultural backgrounds and that spoke languages other than my own. From these experiences I was able to grasp the validity of other people’s world views, and even more so, recognize the similarities and differences of their lived experiences in comparison to my own.
The best part of studying abroad is perhaps the most obvious–the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. When you study in cosmopolitan locations, you get to meet not only amazing and informative locals, but also other students from different countries and different parts of the United States. Wherever they are, completing their undergraduate studies or pursuing doctorates in their field, I am grateful for all my new friends– who are much more like family. Without the CIEE Open Campus Program and my scholarships from IU, I would not have been able to discover the numerous idiosyncrasies and similarities in this world and all who inhabit it have to offer.