University of Leicester, England
When I was in my small town high school I decided that I would attempt to see as much as I could of the world and I set out to do that. When it came down to it, there was only one feasible option for me to study abroad and that was to receive the Dara Kaufman scholarship.
The semester I spent at the University of Leicester made history. The Leicester City Football Club overcame 5000 to 1 odds to win the Premier League championship after going undefeated for an entire season (I’m not saying I had anything to do with that, just that I went there during that time but maybe if I hadn’t things would have gone differently).
My flatmates were first year students and they had spent just one semester together before I arrived. We instantly became friends and I still talk to them every day. As far as what I learned, they had to be some of my best professors. Buying groceries was a bit harder than I had anticipated. I asked a lot of questions as far as lingo goes, like “paper towels” are “kitchen roll” and “pants” are “trousers,” basic stuff like that.
However, I learned a lot more than just how to buy groceries in England. I took a couple economics courses to satisfy my minor requirements and I figured it would be interesting to take those courses in a different country. America was still a pretty central focus point of the courses but they were more developed around how the economy is globally connected which was a concept I had not put much thought into prior to studying abroad.
I was also able to travel for six weeks and I went to Scotland, Germany, Austria, Holland, Italy, and Greece with nothing but a backpack stuffed with clothes. The people you meet while traveling are all sorts of interesting. Especially in hostels, you meet so many different types of travelers from all over the world and they always have interesting stories and travel tips etc. Backpacking to all these places kind of brought the concepts I’d learned in my courses to life. For a simple example, Venice is expensive and Athens is cheap.
When I returned home I brought with me a better understanding of myself. Traveling and leaving your comfort zone is the best way to test yourself and help you grow as a person. I am so thankful for the Dara Kaufman Scholarship as it enabled me and others to do so.