“Are you going abroad?”
This is the question that I have been asked time and time again for the past year, the question that I have always answered with a begrudging “no.” No, I will not be traveling the world for six months. No, I will not be meeting an abundance of new people, and no, I will not be off experiencing a new culture and widening my horizons. And yes, I am a little bitter about it.
At least, I thought I was. I did not have the option to study abroad due to the required courses for my major and minors – if I had gone, the end result would have been my inability to graduate in four years. When I realized this, I wasn't just upset, I was heartbroken. And when most of my best friends applied, got into, and eventually left for their study abroad programs, I anticipated my second semester of my junior year to be lonely, unfulfilling, and frankly, a little boring.
As we take on our seventh week of classes and realize that we’re (already?!) almost halfway through the semester, I decided to take a moment to reflect on my feelings surrounding this whole abroad situation. And I realized that despite my anguish over not being able to travel this semester, I’m surprisingly happy, fulfilled, and nowhere near bored. I realized that yes, this semester has been a very different experience thus far, but a bad one? Not in the slightest.
For one thing, I’ve had more time to explore the glorious city around me. At times, I feel like USC is a bubble that I rarely need to leave to find something exciting to do. This semester, while so many of my classmates are trekking around European cities, I’ve been using the time to explore Los Angeles, visiting landmarks, museums and new neighborhoods that I may have never traveled to otherwise.
I’ve also been forced to meet and befriend new people, and to forge friendships with people who I might not have met were my close friends still at school. My friends abroad may meet foreigners and learn their cultures and languages, but I’ve been able to meet friends who will be right there next to me for my final year of college.
It’s funny, I wouldn’t expect staying at USC to push me out of my comfort zone; after all, that’s usually what people say going abroad will do to you. But in so many ways, it has caused me to think about new ways to meet people and to get involved with USC and Annenberg. I’ve had more time to enjoy USC while I still can – as my senior year approaches, I can feel my time at USC dwindling and I want to take in every moment while there’s still time.
I don’t mean to diminish the wonderful experiences everyone is having overseas as they take on the world – I am sure living in another country is truly incredible, and I’m positive that I will hear stories upon stories about why going abroad was the best decision my friends have ever made. I just mean to explain what an amazing thing it is to attend a university where there are no bad semesters. Every semester at USC is full of life, excitement and new things to do, and I couldn’t be happier that I won’t be missing a second of that.Cecilia Callas (B.A. Print and Digital Journalism '15)
Annenberg Alumni Relations