Three months from now, many of my classmates and I will be jet-setting to foreign lands in search of adventure, out-of-the box education, invaluable experiences, and the perfect foodstagrams. Going abroad sits somewhere between exciting and strange. Everyone I’ve spoken to, who is leaving Brown for the fall semester, has agreed that it doesn’t yet feel like we’re actually leaving, or like we aren’t going to be back here for a whopping eight months.
You know what they say–count your blessin’s. Though the sophomore slump hit us pretty effing hard, we shouldn’t forget what we’ll miss about Brown while we’re gone. I know — the slump makes it easy to forget. Don’t worry — I’m here to remind you what’s so special about Brunonia.
1. The Ratty. Some study abroad programs don’t offer meal plans for their students. Plus, how could those that do compete with the Ratty? The Ratty, in my opinion, is one of the most amazing things about Brown. Those going abroad won’t find all-you-can eat, pre-paid meals everywhere in the world — or daily access to grilled chicken.
2. The Brown bubble. The Brown bubble is safer than any foreign city; there’s no doubt about that. It’s also a one-stop shop — the Brown bubble has everything you could ever need in a square mile and a half. Food, good places to work, a CVS, bars, and, most importantly, Health Services! What do I do if my appendix explodes while I’m abroad? How do I find antibiotics in the Czech Republic?
3. The familiar faces, which lies in the same vein as the Brown bubble. It sounds like a college cliché, but it’s true — you really can’t go more than two minutes without running into someone you know or without someone saying hi to you. When you’re having a shitty day and are forced to smile to someone you know, your day actually becomes that much better. I’m not so sure you can feel so loved in a city of millions of strangers. (Wow, that sounds super depressing.)
4. People speaking a language you know. See: “culture shock.”
5. The chairs in Leung. Fine, maybe that’s just me. But they are so, so perfect and there are so few places in this world where I am actually comfortable being sedentary for seven hours. Even Bevers gets bedsores from watching too much Netflix.
6. The Main Green. There is never an excuse not to walk through the Main Green. In other words, it’s never that out of the way, so when you’re walking anywhere on a beautiful day and want to see pure happiness, you can easily detour through it. There, you are in a place you love, and you probably see people you love, and even the people you don’t love (because you don’t know them, but if you knew them you’d probably love them, too) are radiating a contagious euphoria. Then you can walk to the Blue Room and get an iced coffee and just love the heck out of life.
7. Lack of FOMO. I wouldn’t call Brown a “party school” per se, but not to a fault. Sometimes, there is nothing better than spending a Saturday night in the comfort of my room, Tumblr-worthy Christmas lights aglow, binge-watching 30 Rock, or drinking wine in my pajamas on a friend’s floor. “Me time” is important, and taking it at Brown is usually respected by one’s peers. Here, I don’t have to worry about European nightlife calling my name. But abroad, peer affirmation (“Ugh, yes, you totally need this night to decompress”) turns into peer pressure. What if I miss my Paolo? That’s what every girl studying abroad thinks about before making any antisocial decision.
If you, like me, are going abroad: have fun, be safe, and ever true.