Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It approaches!

So here it is. There's no pretending it's not happening any longer (not that I'd want to). I'm going to London -- the furthest I've ever been from home -- for the entire Fall 2009 semester. I know it's going to sound cliché and all, but I'm going to tell you about it anyway. Such is the nature of a blog. I'm hoping I'll be able to direct friends and family members here when they ask about my adventures, and also hope it'll help convince students to go abroad in the future. I know this is the sort of thing that helped convince me!

I depart from the Buffalo airport at 2:21 PM on August 31st (Note: Stalkers, please ignore that sentence.) This is less than a month away, if you're keeping track. Less than a month! I'd better get organized.

A few minutes ago I finally bit the bullet and purchased tickets for weekend and day trips during the semester through the school I'll be at (which is Richmond, the American International University in London, in case you're wondering, while the program I'm going there through is AIFS). You can see details of the trips here if you're curious; the ones I'm going on are Scotland, Wales, Stonehenge/Bath, and Cambridge. (The picture on the left is of the national park in Wales.)

So, why am I going to London? Studying abroad is something that's been in the back of my mind for a long time. I'm going because I'm an English major, love the language, and am a big fan of British culture, and thus want to get to know it in the way you can only by living in it. My biggest reason for going, though, is best expressed in this paragraph excerpted from my application essay to the London program (please excuse the "You won't be sorry if you pick me!" sort of language; such is the nature of application essays):
But that is not the only reason I want to study abroad. Who am I? This is a question that every individual asks of him- or herself at some point in life, and this is a question that I have been slowly discovering the answer to for the past few years. I have so many interests – English, art, computers, psychology, and cooking, to name just a few – and so you might not be surprised that I have found it difficult to forge a distinct definition of myself. I believe that immersing myself in a culture entirely different from my own will help me in this quest of self-definition. Away from my usual, comfortable environment, I will be able to recognize the aspects of myself that still remain no matter what the circumstances. It is through this quest of self-definition that I hope to find my place in the world – my role in history. And will I get all of that just from a semester in London? Probably not, but it’ll be a big step in getting there, and it’s a step I’m willing and excited to take.
Anyway, that's all I have to say for now. Check back periodically to follow my adventures! Whenever I make a new post here, I'll try to make note of it on Facebook and Twitter for those who are connected to me there. Cheerio!