One of the things I love about being abroad is how much I try to live in two places at once. Keeping up with time zones and American football games, elections and annual family gathering photo shoots.
Here is a great photo of me and my siblings on Lunar New Year 2017. I might be hard to spot, but I’m the one on the iPad, in Scotland!
As easy as I make it seem to live in two continents at once, it comes with some of its harder aspects. One is how much information I have access to and need to digest, being in two relatively different social and political spheres. With the advent of my social media being merged into my news source, I actually find myself reading a lot more news than I did in my first year of university. It also helps that I find current events more interesting with everything that has been going on in the world, and I think that just comes with *becoming an adult.*
As a part of the Programme’s mysterious ways, I am able to tailor a lot of what I want to learn into the content I am creating. Though my English classes this semester are not inherently current events based (sorry, Renaissance texts and T.S. Eliot) I still find ways to relate what we read in those classes to what I read in the New York Times. Last semester I took a postcolonial literature and theory class that was amazingly relevant to a lot of things we saw happening in the countries physically around us and oceans away. I’m also working on an independent study where I’m looking at how Brexit affects higher education institutions in the UK, which leads me to click every Brexit related article I see in a 10 mile radius. I am so lucky and grateful to be a part of two completely different, but relevant, conversations about politics, about economies, about where to get the best coffee in (insert small town, here).
A lot of the time when I see news, I can’t help but compare what’s happening here, in Scotland and Europe, to what’s going on in the States. One thing that helped me, and still does help me, to transition and adjust to each school is remembering that differences make us greater, and there is no competition. There is no reason to compare every detail of every part of each place to each other; each is unique and that’s why this Programme thrives. Differences create strength, and strength drives progress.
So I’m glad I’m basically Hermione Granger in the third Harry Potter book, constantly spinning a time-turner to be in two places at once. It has its perks, and its harder parts, but as far as I can tell, I enjoy the challenge.