Go Abroad. You Won't Regret It.

First semester of freshman year I got a job in the Office of Study Abroad for work-study. I was excited to be working in such a fun office, and being involved with sending students abroad was exciting. Working in the office I was able to find out a lot about all of the cool programs available to Belmont students, and I saw that two professors were leading a trip to England that centered around Harry Potter and theater. Immediately, I knew I wanted to go. I had never been out of the country, and it was a lot of money, but I knew this was an incredible opportunity. I was one of the first to sign up for the program, and I was able to sign up for a class in the spring that was taught by one of the professors I would be with on the trip.

By the time Spring semester rolled around I was nervous about leaving the country. I had been at school for months now and just wanted to be back at home with my family, but my Mom and friends kept encouraging me to go and enjoy the experience, so I went. When people say they fell in love with a city, they aren’t lying. From the moment I touched down in London I was in awe of the city, the people, the food, everything. We flew from Nashville overnight, so we arrived in London at 9AM. I slept less than 4 hours on the flight and I was exhausted along with everyone else, but in order to keep us awake they had a boat trip scheduled. We were sat on the open-air roof of the boat that took us down the Thames. Over half of our group fell asleep, but I was so awestruck by the city and the sights that I tried not to blink.

All in all, it was an incredible, life-changing trip. I got to see eight theater productions on West End and tour the Harry Potter Studios. I have been a fan of Harry Potter since I was little and getting to see where the movies came to life was one of the most magical experiences. We took a weekend trip to Edinburgh, Scotland that only instilled in me a deeper love for the country. As much as I loved London, Edinburgh was my favorite. It is full of life and culture that sparked a curiosity in me. I cannot wait to return.

Since I have been back I have been eager to tell everyone about my experience and encourage them to go abroad. Your mind will overcome challenges, your heart will widen, and your life will suddenly see so many more opportunities. The world is full of life and culture that is waiting to be explored. As cheesy as that sounds, it is so, so true. So if you are reading this I implore you: go, explore, create, learn. Study abroad offers a chance to do these things while in college. It is there waiting for you. Go.

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Ashley Harris is currently a sophomore at Belmont Univerity, hailing from Hampton Roads, Virginia. She is majoring in Publishing with a minor in English Writing. She hopes to end up working at a publishing house in NYC, publishing books for children and young adults. She has an affinity for the Christmas/Holiday season, punk rock music, and cool tattoos. You can find her in the nearest bookstore or petting the nearest dog. She also has an ESA resuce cat named Luna!

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