Talking about cyprus study
“Where are you studying abroad?”
I have this conversation approximately three times a week about my impending semester abroad.
Usually, I just tell people that Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
inspired me to go to Greece, and Cyprus was a slightly more affordable
close option. (Which is partially true. How could you not want to be
Alexis Bledel, riding her bicycle around open markets wearing billowy
dresses and falling in?)
But the real truth is this.
I can’t say that the curriculum at the tiny University of Nicosia is
going to be educationally life-changing. Technology, internet, and
media do not make waves in Cyprus. For five months, I will have
absolutely zero income and will not tie myself down with an internship.
I certainly won’t be making industry contacts for the future, and I
sort of doubt my classes are going to teach me anything cutting edge. I
have no knowledge of the Greek language and will not be anywhere close
to fluent five months later (upon my return I intend on knowing how to
say “bathroom” and “beer”).
But I’m only going to be a 20-year-old college junior once. I’ll
have several more decades to practice my Chinese or understand the
international economy. Who says every experience has to make direct
deposits into your academic or vocational life? This is my one chance
to be in a country where I know nothing and no one. I’ve already been
to a handful of Asian countries, and I’m craving some straight culture
shock. When else will I have the time to spend five months abroad? My
parents surely won’t support me in nonacademic trips post-graduation. I
certainly can’t pack up my bags and go when I’m in my 20s.
It’s my chance just to live my life — not Teresa the Communication
major or Teresa the budding social media professional or Teresa the
freelance writer. It doesn’t have to fall into any of those categories.
Going to Cyprus can be living MY life, unadulterated. Immersing myself
in an entirely different culture: the people, the food, the sights, the
sounds. Learning from my peers who aren’t all from the same UC program.
Experiencing an entirely new kind of independence. Trust me, it took a
lot of self-justification at first, but I realized: there’s nothing,
nothing wrong in simply indulging in something I want.
And Cyprus is what I want. (The fact that it is home to halloumi,
the only grillable cheese in existence, is just icing on the cake.)
I explained this all to my very skeptical “but why aren’t you going
to China? isn’t Cyprus a third world country?” dad in a four-page
e-mail. He responded:
My lovely daughter, I am so happy to see you have an
independent thinking couple with a reasonable thinking logic. Go ahead
to apply for this program as you planned!
So if you’re thinking about studying abroad: PLEASE GO, and go where
you want to. I think going abroad anywhere will be a memorable and
monumental experience, but why not be in the exact place you want to
be? Not every decision in your life has to be 100% rational or relevant to your future life plans. Sometimes you should do something because it just makes sense to you.
That’s why I’m spending five months on a little Mediterranean
island. ‘Cause frankly, people who eat a lot of cheese make plenty of
sense to me.
May 09, 2009 |
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