Glasses Under the Sea

Mountain MaleI lost my glasses in the Mediterranean Sea.

Twice. I don’t miss them one bit. Why? Because I learned two important lessons when I studied in Spain last May.

First, don’t go kayaking without securing your glasses. Second, you have a rare opportunity to earn college credit while having a marvelous adventure by finding a new way of seeing things — in more ways than one, in my case.

At Hope, I’m used to a rather “structured” academic schedule as an engineering major. I went to Spain in May 2018 with Dr. Berta Carrasco to finish up my SpanishHouse of Ruins Spain minor and also fulfilled my Culture Heritage II credit without putting my engineering class schedule in crisis.

Before going to Spain, I had to figure out how to afford my trip. There’s obviously an upfront cost to studying abroad other than just the plane ticket, housing, and college credits. But really, it just depends how you look at that upfront expense when thinking about how you’ll afford it. For me, it was an investment in my education by taking a class I would have to take anyway, with the added benefit of spending that time abroad. Not only would I have a pretty awesome time, but I’d have a unique experience as a global learner that would set me apart from others.

GrenadaOf course, loving travel is also a huge part of it. Seeing the world is an experience that you just have to do, especially since we’re so young. For us as Hope students, we should take advantage of the interdisciplinary opportunity that we still have. Seeing the world not only allows us to learn more about the world, but allow us to get out of our comfort zones. In my case, it was being able to speak Spanish for an entire month while taking in the culture around me.

Once you study abroad, you also get a very rare opportunity for clarity. You get a chance to step away and embrace a different way of doing things, at least for a little bit, and experience what really matters in life from a different point of view. This new way of life may grant you a few things: More free time, more opportunities while you’re abroad, a different pace of life, or all the above.

The moment you leave home, you’re just not worried about the same things anymore.

Norway Male Rock

The free time is amazing. For three whole days during my May Term in Spain, I did nothing but contemplate life while on a hilltop in Norway for a weekend.

The moment you leave home, you’re just not worried about the same things anymore. You have a chance to make the most out of your experience and chase your next endeavor wherever you decide to go abroad.

Still curious? You can learn more by consulting with one of Hope’s global ambassadors at the Center for Global Engagement office inside the Martha Miller Center.

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David Wang

Class of 2020 Hometown: Canton, MI Major(s): Biomedical Mechanical Engineering

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