As a senior in high school, I had no idea where I would end up for college. But if someone would have told me I’d be living in Scotland less than a year after graduation, there’s no way I would have believed them.
My parents were a little confused when I told them my top choice for college was a tiny private school 10 hours from home, but then my acceptance letter came, and then another, and then another, and then another. First I was accepted to Arcadia itself, then the Honors program, then the International Peace and Conflict Resolution five-year master degree program, then finally the First-Year Study Abroad Experience (FYSAE). At that point I think they understood how many opportunities Arcadia had to offer. I’m equally thankful for all of them, but reflecting on this past semester, I have to say FYSAE has been one of the best experiences of my life.
I, of course, expected to meet Scottish students, but I never expected I’d be having class with, living with, and becoming friends with so many people from all over the world. There’s someone in my flat from every single continent—besides Antarctica, of course. Studying abroad gives you a global mindset and makes you think about things in an international context. It goes from ‘How will this political decision affect the US?’ to ‘How will this political decision affect the world?’ I couldn’t imagine having to wait until my junior or senior year to be exposed to that way of thinking.