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As the semester winds down, I can’t help but reflect on what I was doing this time last year. I was preparing for an experience of a lifetime. I was about to go abroad.

In the Spring of 2017 I took a leap of faith and studied abroad in the little French town, Aix-en-Provence.

I’ve loved France since my family took a summer vacation there in the summer of 2011. That summer when I first visited Aix-en-Provence I fell in love. I knew I would come back to the beautiful city in the future. When I decided to study abroad in France I was filled with a mix of emotions. I was happy, nervous, excited, scared and ready to travel the world. I was excited to be back in a place I loved so much. but also nervous about being in a home-stay when I didn’t speak any French. I was also afraid I would be missing out on what was going on back in Granville.

But once I got to France, that fear soon vanished. I got over my anxiety of being alone in a foreign country without knowing how to speak the language. When I got over this bump, abroad was an incredible experience. In the few short months I was in Europe I learned many life skills that I continue to use today. Skills such as, time management, budgeting, being open to trying new things, building relationships with strangers, etc.

I grew up traveling and when it came time to apply to colleges, I always knew studying abroad was something I wanted to do. I believe that Denison is a place that offers opportunities to experiences different cultures, but students don’t always put in the effort to do so. Although there are options to experience other cultures and viewpoints in Granville, going abroad does so much more.

Studying abroad is a scary and uncomfortable time but by doing something unfamiliar, you will definitely be impacted in an unbelievable way. When I was abroad I traveled every weekend to incredible places and have met some of the most interesting people along the way. By going outside of my comfort zone, I tried new things I never thought I would have.

You learn some incredible life lessons by studying off campus. Going abroad has also enhanced my Denison education because I’ve been able to experience firsthand things I’ve learned about and discussed in my classes at Denison.

About 80% of Denison students study off campus during their time on the Hill. With so many options offered by the Off Campus Study office, there’s a place for everyone.

There are definitely hurdles that you have to overcome in order to get the most out of your off campus experience but it is 100% worth it. I encourage everyone to get out of their comfort zone and leave the Hill for awhile. When you get back you’ll realize the experiences you had while abroad was worth the few things you missed in Granville that semester.

Kathlyn Craigie is just a California girl living in an Ohio world. As a senior at Denison University, Kathlyn enjoys being part of the varsity volleyball team, traveling abroad, and cherishing the remaining time she has left on The Hill.
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