Today, I never left my residence hall. I'm not even joking. I'm feeling a bit poorly, so I stayed in and did laundry and reading for my class. I also made myself real food: grilled cheese (with bacon) and tomato soup for lunch, and pasta with butter and cheese for dinner. Not a huge accomplishment but I was proud!
Instead of simply not posting, I decided to write about the five best things about studying abroad, based on my experiences this summer and right now. I know I've talked a lot about the negative things that I've experienced so I wanted to share some of the positive!
1. The Food. One of my favorite things about going to a new country is discovering their cuisine. Being in a country for an extended period makes you even more familiar with it...and makes you miss it terribly when you return home. From mushy peas to Battenberg cake to Starbuck's mango passion fruit fraps, I'm in love with the food here.
2. The Friends. Studying abroad is such a great opportunity to make new friends. Back at your home university, you tend to stick to the same friend group a lot of the time, I've found. Or you simply don't have the ability to make friends with non-Americans. I've come to love both my JSA and my British friends in the few weeks I've been here so far. And I still keep in touch with several of the friends I made at the University of Sussex this past summer (shout-out to Abby, if you're reading this!).
3. Experiencing Another University. I love Elon, don't get me wrong, but it's so exciting to find out what a different university is like. While Elon is definitely prettier than the University of Sussex, I admired the rolling fields that surrounded it, the convenience of having a grocery store on campus, and the ability to take buses. Here at St Andrews, I'm impressed by the large student union center, the amount of events going on every single day (despite having about the same number of students as Elon, there's much more to do here!), the swanky night bus so students don't have to walk home in the dark, and more. It's also a great way to experience something different than you're used to at home: living on a campus that's spread across an actual town is a daunting, but refreshing change from living on a very isolated campus!
4. Experiencing a Non-American University. I don't want to bash America, but sometimes it's great to escape. No one cared that I didn't watch the Super Bowl! I love having the experience of living on a campus that doesn't have Greek life. As someone who doesn't particularly like frat parties, it's so nice to have a nightlife that doesn't include them. It's also nice in that people are identified by what they study or what societies they're in instead of their Greek organization. (I'm not against Greek life; but for someone who has never wanted to be involved in it, it's great to be away!). And let's be honest: it's nice to be able to share a pitcher of sangria with friends over dinner. ;)
5. Living in a New City. St Andrews is unlike anywhere I've ever been before. It's a thriving little town with a unique and charming culture. At Elon, there really isn't much of a town to speak of so I quite enjoy passing parents with children and older couples on my way to class. I think that studying abroad is a great way to live in a different city for a few months, whether you pick a big city like Amsterdam or London or something smaller like Montpelier or St Andrews.
For those of you reading who have studied abroad, what was your favorite part? Let me know in the comments!
I'm just too proud of my culinary adventures today not to share a picture.