I woke up on 1 January 2013 in a hotel room in the Kensington neighborhood of London, England after ringing in the New Year with my best friend. We spent a week abroad in celebration and enjoying one final vacation together before the real world took over our school breaks. Little did I know that I would spend so much of my year in Europe, and how much my life would be better for it.
I was fortunate enough to spend my spring break in Germany with my dad. I had been a few times before with him, so this time we got to explore the nooks and crannies of the country. It’s those towns, like Trier or Dielheim, that give the country so much character, where you find real culture.
I then spent 5 weeks of my summer in Cambridge, England as part of our Study Abroad programs. The friends that I made and bonds I strengthened while there are unbreakable. When you travel with someone, especially in a foreign country where high-pressure situations are guaranteed, you really create a relationship that’s incomparable to others. We took the time to go to the National Stud and see the horses and horse races. We got to go in Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. We took the ferry to Calais, France so that we could see the White Cliffs of Dover as we sailed away from the British coast. We met up with another friend in Paris who was studying in Montpelier, France for the summer. We enjoyed the Fringe Music Festival in Edinburgh. We met other Americans who were studying abroad. We met a Bulgarian also traveling home from France. We met a Scot on a train.
They say “traveling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” My past year proves it. Spending so much time in Europe I got to see the world. I got to meet everyday people and students just like me. I got to hear what other people think of the United States. Studying abroad is my biggest piece of advice for prospective students, whether it’s a summer, semester, year, or Branch Out. No matter what: go. When I look back on 2013, travel is what defined it. And now, traveling is what defines me.
– Kelley Quinzio