etymology: German, from wandern to wander + lust desire, pleasure
: strong longing for or impulse toward wandering or travel
I know they say not to self diagnose yourself from reading medical definitions on the internet, because you can go from having a cold to believing you have a life-threatening disease. I think it’s safe to say though after reading this definition that I suffer from Wanderlust, not a medical condition but one just as serious all the same. And I also think its safe to say that you do too, considering you are here, reading this blog.
So, why study abroad some may ask?
Well, I could give you the same reasons I’m sure your counselors and teachers have given you: learn new cultures, explore a new place, take classes in another country, so on and so forth. How I see it though, study abroad gives you a chance to have an entire country as your classroom. I’m not just talking about taking a class abroad, I’m talking about you simply stepping out of your door and learning something new: finding your way through a new city, figuring out the transportation system, the currency, the customs, the traditions, the history. All of it is part of your syllabus and you are quizzed on it every day.
I was fortunate enough to visit London once before but only for a brief period of time while on a tour of the UK with my family. To say I never wanted to leave was an understatement. Three years later, I knew this was my chance to get back to the place that had stolen my heart.
When deciding what class to take while abroad I was told to use my free electives because I am going to want to focus on enjoying the experience instead of stressing about school work. That’s where History of London comes in. Being the giant history nerd that I am and loving London as much as I do, what better way to learn more about my beloved place then take a history class dedicated to it?
You’re also probably asking why I chose AIFS instead of going through a program with my school. Though my school had a good study abroad program I still felt limited. I wanted desperately to go to London and I wanted to use that chance to take a class that wouldn’t normally be offered at my school, something that would interest and excite me and go hand in hand with my experience of being abroad. I also wanted to go in the summer since next year is my senior year and I will be so busy with, school, work and extra curricular activities. Needless, to say I was in a pickle (yes, I did just use the phrase, in a pickle). Until my saint of a mother called me one day to help discuss study abroad ideas and she said “well, what about that study abroad program that sent the brochure?” I had no idea what she was talking about. She explained the brochure AIFS had sent and I remembered that a long time ago I had requested one. I realized then that I had found the answer to my prayers. I applied immediately. I am sure you can imagine my excitement when I found out I had been accepted! And on Valentines day no less (happy valentine’s day to me, right?!)!
So, so far my study abroad experience or pre-study abroad experience I should say, has been awesome. I can only imagine how amazing it’s gonna be when I finally go abroad.
I heard a quote recently that I think really sums up why I think people need to study abroad: “The world is not in your books and maps, it’s out there.” It was said by a very wise man- Gandalf. Yes, Gandalf the wizard from The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit but he had it right! You can only learn so much by reading books and studying maps. The real classroom is out there in the real world! Study abroad is not only a new classroom but a new adventure. And for someone like me who suffers (terribly, might I add) from wanderlust, and maybe you too, study abroad gives me (and you) the perfect opportunity to get a foot out the door
So, to end my post I find myself once again quoting a line from The Hobbit. As Bilbo says in the beginning of the movie, I say now in the beginning of my blog of my experience: “I’m going on an adventure!”