On Studying Abroad

Donald Brownby Donald Brown
Xi Kappa Chapter, Mississippi State University
Winner of the 2012-2013 Study Abroad Scholarship

I probably learned more during my study abroad experience at the University of Oxford than I have during my whole time living in the U.S. Learning to adjust to their culture gave me a great understanding of who I was, and who I am, as an American. By the time I was beginning to make Oxford my home, it was time to go back to America. I will, however, be returning next year for graduate studies.

During my time there (Trinity Term), I was able to experience the Oxbridge Tutorial system in which I met with a professor, John Ballam, once a week. I would read a play (e.g., Antony and Cleopatra, Othello, Merchant of Venice, etc), write an essay, and then would meet and discuss the essay I wrote. The intellectual community at the oldest university in the English-speaking world is, to say the least, exceptional.

dbrown-blog-pic1I also got to travel around England. Stonehenge is amazing. Though I went to London three times, I still feel like I only saw one-fourth of the city. I love visiting museums, and there are tons to go to there. In fact, many of them are free! From Westminster Abbey to Windsor Castle to the Roman baths in Bath, England, the whole country amazed me. However, I must say the most amazing thing about my study abroad time was the pervasive sense of history that looms over England like a warm ghost.

I encourage anyone who has not gone out of the country to do so. You will be sure to learn a great deal about yourself, America, and the world-at-large.

Learn more about Donald’s study abroad experience on his blog, On the Grand Tour.

Applications for the Spring 2014 Study Abroad Scholarship are due April 1.

Parlez–vous touriste?

rwilloughbyby Russell Willoughby
Sigma Tau Delta Study Abroad Scholarship Winner
Phi Xi Chapter, University of Alabama

Though it seems like hardly a month ago, it has been almost a year since I applied for the Sigma Tau Delta Study Abroad Scholarship for a year-long program in Paris, France. The generous award funded no small portion of my program and expenses in what we all know as an (outrageously) pricey locale. Living in a city that remains—for so many people, spanning so many periods—a paradigm of glamour, culture, and exploration is, most days, incredibly daunting. There’s just something about Paris: a world capital that was both a haven for the intellectual bohemian set of the 1920s and a beacon of couture, the city somehow seems to revel in dichotomies, while also defying them.

Loire Valley region of France

Loire Valley region of France

Now that I am at the half-way mark (!) of my year-long program, I am able to rattle off recommendations for restaurants and arrondissements and bookstores and order my lunch with minimal embarrassment; yet, try as I might, I will never be able to fully remove my Americanness in favor of a haute couture French identity. But I don’t want to! Though I can call myself resident, I don’t underestimate the humbling power of also being touriste. Some of my best conversations with actual residents (i.e. Real Live French People) have been centered on a mutual eagerness to know each other’s cultures. The French have a reputation of being frosty to ex-pats and tourists alike, but my experiences have only been warm and—even more importantly—authentic.

Houses in Strasbourg, France

Houses in Strasbourg, France

More than focusing on having a “traditional study abroad experience” (whatever that means), I strongly encourage anyone considering it  to approach not only the decision but also everything that follows with a YES mentality, even—especially!—to the point of discomfort. Thanks to my new-found freedom from the fear of “awkward” (fittingly, there is no true translation in French) I have friends here from France, Belarus, Taiwan, Tunisia, Georgia (the country), Israel, Jordan, Sweden, and beyond. In Paris I’ve lost the comfort of college-town cloisters, but I’ve gained a sense of belonging that transcends country borders.

Applications for the Spring 2014 Study Abroad Scholarship are due April 1.

Southern Student Leadership Candidate

Robert Durborow Robert “Chaos” Durborow
Candidate for Southern Student Representative,
Senior, Pi Omega Chapter, Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, KY

Positions, other memberships, offices, etc., currently or recently held:

  • Outgoing ASR, Far Western Region (2013)
  • Previous ASR, Far Western Region (2012)
  • Member and former officer
  • Golden Key Society Member and former Officer
  • National Society of Leadership & Success

Explain why you are running for office and comment on any skills, experience, or personal qualities you possess that would contribute to your performing the following duties: promoting communication among chapters other than your own, producing official publications, assisting your Regent, serving on the Student Leadership Committee. Further comments or ideas are encouraged. Include your region and your first and last name at the top of the page. Please do not include sensitive personal information in your essay. Candidate essays will be displayed publicly before the election. Do not exceed 500 words:

My name is Robert “Chaos” Durborow. I recently transferred to NKU from SUU, and have served as the Far Western Region ASR for two years. My previous service provides me with experience in working with a Regent and an SR, as well as student leaders across the country. I am dedicated to Sigma Tau Delta, its goals, and its purpose. As your SR, I will be dedicated to you.

There is still time to apply for a student leadership position for any region. Simply bring your completed application form to the convention and turn it in at the convention registration desk any time before the Regional Networking meetings on Thursday afternoon.