Posted October 5, 2011 Atlanta
Contact Rachael Pocklington
Second Year, College of Management, Marketing
About this time four months ago, I sat on my bedroom floor and peered into an empty suitcase. As if packing for a 10-week journey wasnât enough cause for stress, my mind raced with thoughts and worries about my summer ahead. How would I fit into the European culture? How would I find my way around? How would I ever survive without my family and close friends for an entire summer? Fortunately, when my plane touched down in Vienna, Austria, these troublesome thoughts vanished and were replaced by feelings of excitement and hopeful anticipation.
My summer in Europe consisted of ten weeks of study in art, music, international business law, and leadership development courses. When I wasnât in class, I spent my time taking in the sites and cultures of cities rich in history including Vienna, Paris, Rome, Prague, Barcelona, Dublin, and London.
From attending Vivaldi concerts to gazing in amazement at Michelangeloâs âDavid,â from hiking along the coasts of Ireland to perusing Barcelonaâs La Rambla, I experienced things this summer that far surpassed even my wildest dreams. During my summer abroad on the Oxford Program, I have formed lasting friendships, developed a sense of personal independence, and gained valuable life skills that will remain with me throughout my college and professional years. One must relinquish fears rather quickly when thrust into a new cultural context; Iâm no longer scared to ask for directions or intimidated by new surroundings. While I certainly missed my family and friends, modern technology allowed me to video-chat and interact with them as if we were on the same continent (just with a six-hour time difference).
I am truly blessed to have been able to spend the summer of a lifetime with such incredible people and in such fascinating surroundings. Before this trip, I was merely a college student. Now, I have a newfound appreciation for the world around me, a greater knowledge of international customs and politics, a keener sense of flexibility and patience, and a clear understanding of just how fortunate I am to live the life Iâve been provided.