By: LOUIS DE GRUY – Opinions Editor
When I first got my passport, I couldn’t help but feel an urge to drop everything I was doing, throw some clothes in my backpack, and head to the airport for the first flight to any continent that wasn’t North America. After several doses of rationality, I decided to send an email to the education abroad office instead, and now I’ll be participating in a research internship this summer in Germany and taking classes in Ireland in the fall.
When I talk about my plans for the next few months, some of my friends respond with a tone that’s almost antagonistic, asking questions like, “Why on earth would you want to leave UD? There’s too much going on here for me to ever consider leaving.” They have a point, but only to an extent.
It’s going to be tough leaving UD, even for just a semester, and I’m going to really miss spending time with all of my friends here. There’s a lot that happens on campus that makes our community great. From the events that are anticipated all year, like St. Patrick’s Day and CAB events, to the spontaneous events like trips to Bill’s Donuts and Frisbee on KU field, this campus really has a lot to miss.
However, that’s not going to stop me from branching out as much as possible while I’m gone. We talk about community a lot at UD, and it certainly is an integral part of campus life, so what’s stopping us from bringing that sense of community to others? I think that we should always try to expand our comfort zones, especially while we are still young.
I can understand those of you who want to stay on campus in order to experience UD as much as possible. When magazines and tour guides describe our campus life, they tend to use words like “vibrant” or “exciting,” but I truly feel our experiences here go much deeper than that. Leaving such a caring and enthusiastic community can seem like a frightening task, but do you honestly think that you’ll regret spending an October in Germany or a St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin? If that isn’t necessarily your scene, then how about learning to tango in Brazil, or spending a semester within a few blocks of a beach on the Mediterranean?
When you consider co-ops, internships, the Semester of Service and all of the other opportunities we have as students at UD that can prolong your college experience, we have ample opportunity to make up for lost time when we come back to campus.
When you stop to think about it, at what other time in our lives will we have the opportunity to go abroad? Sure, we can say that we will go backpacking through Europe or work with the Peace Corps after we graduate, but, the thing is, life gets in the way. When we graduate, student loans, parental pressure and our relationships here all seem to conspire to keep us at home, “settled down” with a job, bills and responsibilities.
While in college, we have the unique circumstance of being incredibly mobile, with on-campus resources to help get us out the door, on a plane and into a new adventure.