Sunday, October 12, 2014

Beginning the Process: Study Abroad

An idea that's been so foreign and frightening to me for the past year has finally become exciting and thrilling in my mind, and I couldn't be happier.
But before I get into the awakenings of my study abroad planning, here are a few shots from my week/weekend:

 More distracting studying spots...if you follow me on Instagram and Twitter (find those links in the "Contact Me" tab), you'll see how often I'm tempted by the outdoors while parked in front of a laptop.

 More Fall foliage...Vermont is just killing it nowadays.

Yesterday, we made our way out to Oakledge Park. Though it was a bit cloudy and brisk, it was still a gorgeous spot that we couldn't believe we'd just discovered.

 After admiring the water, we found a neat little (well, not so little) tree house, complete with initial-carved benches and a door of woven sticks. What a cool place. We'll definitely be back!

Annnnd, perhaps the highlight of the weekend...

 I finally got new skis! They're long overdue, with my old pair chattering beneath my feet and progressively bending as time goes on (they won't even clip together anymore!).
After a long, daunting search through online sales, I landed on a great deal with the women's 2014 Solomon Lumen: utility-rockered and super wide, I'll finally be able to get into some Vermont powder and navigate some glades with far more ease than before! (Not to mention these will actually clip together when the day is done. A relief for sure!) Passes will be coming out soon through Saint Mike's (I'll note more detail once that happens!) and before we know it, trees will turn from red to white, and ski season will be upon us. With my brand new ride on their way, I'm more excited now than ever before to get back on the slopes! 

And not long after that, I'll be putting the finishing touches on my study abroad prep. But right now, it's just beginning.
As many of you may already know, the Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts major requires its students to study abroad. And I'll admit...up until quite recently, that fact weighed down on my shoulders like a ton of bricks each and every day. The worst part was, I knew that as time flew on by, I really needed to start thinking about it, finalizing what I wanted to do, and planning it. But that was the last thing I wanted to do...I wanted to get it out of my mind, because I knew that once that process began, things would start getting very real very fast. I felt helpless and torn...that is until a friend of mine confronted me with some paperwork she'd picked up at an info-table in Alliot that day.
Listed throughout that paperwork was a set of pre-planned trips led by faculty with various focuses. For quite some time, I knew that one of my favorite professors would be leading a trip to China. However, I never thought that these trips at the beginning of Summer 2015 would count as the study abroad credit.
I was wrong, and never more thankful to be. 
As of now, I'm working to become one of a very small group that will be traveling to Beijing, China this May for a program titled "The Great (Fire) Wall". Throughout the 2 week program, we'll be examining cross-cultural digital media platforms, and how our fellow international media-users interact, entertain, and inform through digital media. As this trip focuses on a field I hope to pursue, is led by an amazing professor that I've already learned so much from through just two semesters, and is set in a country I'd never imagined myself being able to travel to, it's something that I've become very excited and hopeful about. 
All of a sudden, meetings popped up left and right- both for Media major sophomores and for prospective-China-goers- and the prospect of study abroad became more and more exciting by the minute. Crowded in a room with all my fellow Media majors with the heads of the program, we were encouraged to reach for a place we'd never picture ourselves going, and not for a vacation. We were ensured that this was the time to be branching out as a global media citizen, forming understanding of cultures around the world. As the meeting progressed, images of me navigating through the bustling city or whipping out my Canon lenses over the Great Wall flashed through my mind. And I finally actually saw myself going somewhere. I'm finally going after something, and not shying away with hesitance. 
The first meeting for prospective-China-goers is this Tuesday, and thanks to the many options and inspirations from the Media department, I'm itching to get there and get this all moving. 

For those of you prospective Media Studies majors who may be feeling some hesitance towards the study abroad requirement, here's a big "trust me, don't worry" from the biggest worrier around. Trust me, don't worry. It's a big world out there, and there are so many options. Saint Mike's leads you through this process and helps to narrow things down, while simultaneously conveying the huge, thrilling expanse of what lies before you. While study abroad may be intimidating at first (which is perfectly fine, by the way), you will all find the path for you. And once you do, all that fear and worry will float away with eager excitement. 
As for China, I'll keep you posted. ;)

Until then, stay tuned next Sunday the 19th for more!

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