University of Aberdeen, Scotland
The dream of travel is one held by many–young and old–but as we age, I believe our motivations behind our need to explore evolve into something deeper than the basic desire to see interesting things. I knew, even when I was young, that I wanted to travel. Maine is representative of a sort of beautiful claustrophobia; I love our wonderful state, but I have a habit of getting trapped here and forgetting what the rest of the world has to offer.
The summer between my Freshman and Sophomore years was when I began researching where I might want to study abroad and I eventually settled on the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. I was completely determined to go. I was getting good grades, I was ahead in my studies, and I was incredibly passionate about this opportunity. My one concern, as a traditional college student who receives no financial assistance from family, was how I was going to afford to leave my job for four months. The Kaufman family scholarship allowed me to do this, and I am eternally grateful.
With the assistance from the Kaufman family, I was able to have my dream travel experience. During my three and a half months in Aberdeen, I was able to experience a culture and a landscape unlike anything I had ever seen. I traveled to more than eight cities and towns while I was abroad. I saw a stag run through the Highland valleys. I stood among castle ruins that laid atop an ocean cliff. I saw Wicked preformed live in London. I ate at Gordon Ramsey’s Savoy Restaurant.
I also worked incredibly hard to immerse myself into a culture that was quite different than my own. I focused on my studies and did a group project alongside a girl from Scotland and a girl from France. Some American friends and I made Thanksgiving dinner and our party guests represented nine different countries.
I will return to Scotland again, but it in the meantime, I hope to share my experiences with those around me. During my time at the University of Aberdeen, I discovered parts of myself that I had never before known existed, and that I had never before needed. Without the help of the Kaufman family, I never would have been able to have the full, enriching experience that I did, and for that I am incredibly thankful.