Studying abroad has been something I have aspired to do even before I committed to attend Gannon.
Growing up in a small rural town, the thought of leaving Pennsylvania to be able to visit exotic places and bustling cities across the globe always seemed like a dream that I knew I wanted to make a reality.
During my freshman year, I was lucky enough to be able to participate in a Gannon Inspired Faculty Travel (GIFT) trip to Poland and Prague while studying good and evil in relation to the Holocaust.
As a sophomore, I began the summer by traveling to Costa Rica with some of my closest Gannon friends through the Transforming Residents Abroad Via Engaged Learning (TRAVEL) program.
Now a junior, I am embarking on a new adventure.
Last week, I put down my deposit to spend three weeks in May completing intensive language study in Seville, Spain.
Although I am terrified to be embarking on this adventure by myself — especially considering I’ve never flown on an airplane without someone I know — I believe that a lot of personal growth will come from this summer.
I tend to be someone who avoids change and spontaneity when possible, but this year, I would like to embrace the unknown a little more.
I figured since I was already booking one international flight, I should consider visiting some other places I’ve always wanted to go too.
Before I go to Spain, I am going to fly to Scotland to visit my cousin, who has lived there for about a year now.
The combination of the two trips will bring my total of time spent abroad this summer to about one month, which I think is perfect for me.
I envy people who spend semesters abroad, but I know that such a long trip might not be ideal for my personality type.
This summer travel will be the perfect combination of comfortable and uncomfortable, and I’ll get to be back in the United States to see my brother graduate high school in June, which is important to me.
While at college, I think it is very important to embrace the opportunities we have.
Whether that means joining a new club or intramural sports team, attending a lecture at Yehl, or signing up for a short study abroad trip, college is a time to try things that intimidate us.
Once we graduate, we will have many responsibilities that hinder our ability to take chances.
Gannon tells each of its new students to “believe in the possibilities” and, as cliché as it sounds, believing is sometimes all it takes.
The faculty members here will help transform your goals into solidified plans as long as you are clear about what types of opportunities you are looking for.
In the case of studying abroad, Meagan McHugh, associate director of learning abroad and international academic programs, and Becky Perry, assistant director for TRAVEL and global initiatives, have both been incredible in helping me organize travel while at Gannon.
I’m very thankful that I go to a school where we have so many chances to grow as individuals in whatever sectors of our life we want to, and I’m looking forward to seeing where my final year and a half takes me.