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Meet Katie, the summer 2016 ICI Intern: I’m Katie Goodrich, a rising senior journalism major at an ICI member campus. I believe in grammar, justice and the right to ice cream. I am fluent in English, sarcasm and gibberish. My talents include an incredible memory for '90s song lyrics, power naps and having just enough bad luck to produce great anecdotes.
Study Abroad Opens New Views
September 22, 2016
College can expand horizons and open doors – sometimes even to other countries. I reflected on my time abroad and how much I learned in three months.
I grew up traveling around the Midwest. My family took lots of day trips, so I have explored almost every city in a 3.5-hour radius of my house.
The radius increased when I studied abroad in Europe during my sophomore year in college. A unique program through my university offered me the opportunity to take my core requirement classes while traveling five different countries.
For three months, I lived in hostels out of a hiking backpack; doing laundry in the sinks and smuggling food out of the buffet breakfasts.
I learned so much about myself, the world and how I fit into the global community. I made some amazing friends and met wonderful strangers. I experienced history in the flesh by visiting monuments and museums and ate some of the best food I’ve ever tasted.
Going to a place I never visited before where I could not easily communicate is the definition of “outside my comfort zone.” But every single day for three months, I pushed myself to experience new things. And it paid off.
After just three weeks in Rome, I could say all the pleasantries in Italian, count to ten and order my favorite gelato. After two weeks in Amsterdam, I could successfully avoid being run over by the avid cyclists. After a week in Brussels, I could walk back to my hostel by using the Coca-Cola advertisement on the main street as a point of reference.
I was constantly learning about the history, culture and politics of the cities we visited. I tried to soak in as much as I could, because I knew my time was limited.
Challenging myself led to breakthroughs: I found a passion for great public transportation and people-watching while sitting on benches.
I realized I liked constantly being on the go and meeting new people. I loved hearing other people’s stories and realized everyone had their own to share.
I came home more open-minded than ever before. I wanted to experience my hometown and my university like a traveler would. I said “yes” to almost every new experience.
It was the most educational vacation I’ve ever been on, and my worldview changed because of studying abroad. I’m so thankful for that.
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