The journey to self-discovery is very personal and unique for each of us. Although we each may find a different path along the way, people that study abroad typically look back on the experience as a turning point in their life—one that made all the difference in shaping who they would become and the direction their lives would take.
Case in point? Tommy Armstrong. Tommy recently shared an essay reflecting upon his experiences studying abroad with AIFS in 1967. Although much has changed in the world since, the personal discovery he shares from nearly 50 years ago parallels the stories we hear from students to this very day.
Thanks Tommy, for sharing how much studying abroad helped you navigate the twists and turns of your life’s journey. It’s a privilege for AIFS to be a part of your story.
We hope you’ll enjoy the following excerpt from Tommy’s essay:
From my room and from my obscurity, I hear the telephone ring in the kitchen. After a few minutes, my Mother calls out, “Tommy, telephone.” I drag myself out of bed and to the kitchen. The phone is next to the utility room in the kitchen, and I wrap the telephone cord around the door and take it into the utility room where there is the only privacy that I can find. It is my grandmother calling long distance from Birmingham. She tells me that one of her friends, who is an English teacher at Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, is taking a group of entering eleventh and twelfth graders to Scotland in July to study at the University of Aberdeen, take excursions all over Scotland, and then travel to the English countryside, London and Paris.
The whole trip would be about six weeks. The trip is organized by the American Institute for Foreign Study. We would study English Literature and would get high school credit for Senior English. She says that she and my grandfather would like to pay for me to go if I would like to go, but that I would need to make a decision soon, because I would need to get a passport. She said that my grandfather had always wanted to go to Scotland, and that if he were never able to go that he would like to know that I was able to go for him.
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