When I decided to study abroad this past winter semester I truly didn’t know what to expect. How could I truly know what would be in store for me once my journey began? In late January, when I left my home, family, and friends behind to spend four months living in Milan, Italy, I was simply a 5’11” child, naïve to the workings of our global community. But now, after a semester of intensive growth and cultural exposure, here I am, back in Ann Arbor, a 5’11 1⁄2” man bristling with confidence.
Believe it or not, I grew a half of an inch during my time abroad. It had been at least two years since I had grown at all, and I haven’t even been very good about drinking my milk lately. I was so excited when I returned home to the states and measured myself that I called all my new friends that I met abroad—all from crazy places like Pittsburgh, or Maryland—to share with them my fantastic news. Who knows, maybe one day if I end up making it back across the pond I’ll be able to shoot up another half inch or so!
Throughout my travels, I saw so much. But never could I have possibly foreseen that I’d grow to be a full half inch taller than I was when I arrived. I guess if I had any advice for younger, shorter students who are thinking about studying abroad, it’d be this: take a chance. Who knows what you’ll find when you open yourself up to an entirely new world of opportunities. Maybe you’ll fall in love. Maybe you’ll learn the intricacies of what separates one culture from another. Maybe you’ll grow half an inch and finally shoot ahead of your cock-sure cousin, Stephen. e point is, you’ll never know unless you take that leap!
Returning now to Ann Arbor, my perspective has changed. Seeing things from a viewpoint half an inch higher than I could before has shed a completely different light on this great campus, and I can’t wait to see what incredible things I’ll now come to notice. While I’ll sure miss Italy, I’ll always cherish the growth I experienced, and appreciate that I have forever been raised to greater heights.