It seems like it’s been ages since I’ve seen all of your lovely faces but also feels like I was at usc just seconds ago. Abroad has flown by and I am not ready to accept the fact that is more than halfway over. My experiences so far have been nothing short of extraordinary. I started out my journey with a trip to London and Paris before reaching my home city of Florence. Starting abroad out with a vacation makes this whole experience feel like one. Since being here I’ve got the chance to travel to many different countries and cities and be forced outside my comfort zone. For example yesterday we went zip lining through the mountains of Croatia on a whim. I’d have to say my favorite trips are ones where I get to meet up with other brothers and experience their cities (special shout out to jordan for showing me the very warm Seville just when I needed sun in my life). However, the most legendary trip of all was when almost all the brothers abroad( with special appearances from Joe and Kat) were able to meet up and celebrate St. Pats in Dublin! It was the most incredible experience and it genuinely felt like a piece of home was with me there in Ireland.
Each and every city has been a dream there is something unique and special to all of them. I’ve learned something about myself on every trip. But, there’s nothing like home and I’m forever grateful mine is Florence. The people I’ve met, the sites I walk by on a daily basis, and of course the FOOD. Seriously if you ever find yourself in Florence feel free to @me for some food recommendations. I have an extensive list as well as a gelato rating based on a preference matrix. It’s not just the food that blows me away but the people that make it. We’ve made best friends with the boys at the panini shop and the girls at bakery close to home. The locals are are always willing to help me with my attempts at Italian.
I don’t know how I’m ever going to transition back to regular diet or if I ever will. But for now I just admire the views and eat gelato at least once a day( that’s not an exaggeration you can ask my roommate or my bank account). I miss Italy and am still here. But all I can say is this experience will impact every part of who I am and I hope each and everyone of you gets the chance to go somewhere out of your comfort zone and learn how to make it your home. I know you are all doing amazing things and I can’t wait to come back and see your growth. Miss you endlessly hope you’re having a great semester!!
P.S. seniors please feel free to not graduate I already miss you too much!
Ciao for now,
My Esteemed Brethren,
I hope each and every one of you is doing well and having an amazing semester. It has felt like forever since I have been with you, but I can’t wait to be together again soon in August in hear all about your semesters and summer festivities. I believe I was one of the first people to leave for study abroad this year, so I am fast approaching the date that marks three full months here in Scotland. I will tell you one thing, it hasn’t felt anywhere close to three months!
Upon my arrival, I was required to adjust rather quickly to the below freezing temperatures of Scotland and an ever constant wind here in the country that seems to always be blowing at you, not matter what direction you face. Another initial challenge I faced was registering for classes. No matter where in the world you are, registration isn’t fun and often has its bumps in the road, but I have never quite experienced a registration process like this one. It took me weeks to get registered for a Spanish class. Now to top it all off, my Spanish teacher is leading a teachers’ strike against the new U.K. Teachers’ Pension Plan, so I haven’t had Spanish class in about a month. It was nice having even fewer responsibilities to manage in the beginning, but now that the strike has continued and I’ve missed a decent chunk of class, I worry about receiving credit for the class…
Enough of the challenges though because those seriously were the only three things “slightly upsetting” about being abroad. My last day of class is March 29th and then I have a three week spring break which I am using to travel with friends and visit other Brothers in their study abroad cities! And speaking of visiting Brothers, roughly a week ago SOU had our own reunion (BBR Abroad if you will) in Dublin for the St. Patrick’s Day Festival. I’ve been blessed with many opportunities to travel around Europe and have seen some truly amazing places, but there is no doubt in my mind living in a cramped Airbnb for 2 nights and riding a forty-five minute train to and from Dublin twice a day with fifteen SOU brothers was my favorite abroad experience so far. Dublin for St. Pats is far more Americanized than I ever imagined, but we stuck together, helped each other out, and made sure no brother was left behind.
For those of you who have been abroad before, each of you knows the temptation and pressure to follow a group and to go where everyone else wants to go. I battled this in the beginning, but reflected on the matter and was really able to find a peaceful balance. So for those going abroad in the near future, my advice to you is this: research travel opportunities near you either before coming abroad or soon after your arrival. Suggest these options to others and see if people want to join you in your travels, but do not be discouraged if others have other destinations in mind. Traveling alone is eye opening and rewarding! Never sacrifice your own goals and dreams to follow a group to destinations that may not even interest you.
I can’t wait to be back with you and to meet the current Sigma class. From what I’ve heard, SOU is doing great things this semester and I’m eager to experience that once again for myself. I have many stories to tell my Brothers, and I’m excited to hear your stories as well. Study hard and have a great end to your semester. Lastly, to all the seniors that I am unable to see before graduation, thank you for all that you have done for me. Each of you has molded this organization into a brotherhood I am proud to be a part of, and each of you has served as an inspiration to me as I have grown professionally, socially, and culturally. To end on a cliché… this is not goodbye, it is see you later (at a tailgate in Memorial in the Fall hopefully).
Hi!! I hope you are all doing EXCELLENT. It doesn’t even seem real that I’m living on a different continent than most of you, but I miss each of you so much and can’t wait for another semester full of game days and BBR shenanigans.
Abroad is so many things. Abroad is hard. But abroad is beautiful. It’s eye opening and intriguing and terrifying and humbling, each encounter altering my view on something I’d previously never thought twice about. I’m living in a medieval fantasyland full of cave bars and castles and perfectly pastel buildings, where each street or twisting alleyway leads me deeper into the most unique city I’ve ever experienced. Prague is endlessly elegant while somehow still so darkly mysterious, leaving me only wanting to explore it more and more. People talk about how abroad changes you, but I never realized how much I could fall in love with the concept of living somewhere so unfamiliar.
Traveling is thrilling. Bus rides and trams and subways and planes and overpriced taxis and somehow I find myself in a cafe in Slovakia or a boat in the canals of Amsterdam (and, in some of my more shameful moments, in a T.G.I. Friday’s in Hungary or a McDonalds in Ireland). But abroad isn’t only about getting to experience all the beautiful instagram-worthy locations, it’s also about learning how to live a completely different lifestyle. And sometimes that can be HARD. Simple tasks like laundry or grocery shopping are remarkably more difficult, and communicating with people who barely speak English can be so discouraging. The Czechs are void of the southern charm that has surrounded me my whole life, often leaving me feeling inadequately American or just out of place. But a piece of advice I have to any future travelers is to never let the minute difficulties of living abroad be discouraging. Be comfortable with who you are, embrace your situation, and appreciate the cultural differences that surround you. I promise that fully immersing yourself in your home country will make your abroad experience rewarding and powerful.
It will always be SO weird to think about life going on in Columbia without me, but I’m living in a dream. I encourage you to never stop exploring, even if it’s just going on a day trip to somewhere nearby Cola or buying a $50 plane ticket to a state you’ve never been to before (try United or Frontier). Study abroad has given me so many opportunities to explore the world, but there are so many adventures to go on wherever you are. I miss you all and can’t wait to see you next semester, I hope you’re all having the best of times in the city of dreams. ❤️
I hope the semester has been off to a great start and I can’t wait to see you all again in August! I have been in Italy for over a month now and it feels like I just got here yesterday. Being in a new, unfamiliar city is a crazy, yet exciting experience. My trip started out rocky when my flight got delayed four hours in Boston and then cancelled! I had to fly out the following night and I ended up missing my program’s entire welcome event/ orientation- to say I was stressed out would be an understatement. The rest of my trip has thankfully gone much smoother and each day I continue to find new things about Florence that I love. Although it is not always fun to walk in the cold, I signed up for a class called Florentine Art Walks and I am seeing so much more of the city than I ever would on my own. If you have the opportunity, take a fun elective abroad!
One tip that I would share to you all is to take your time. There is so much to see when you come abroad and so many places to go, especially when you can reach so many other cities by bus or train. But it’s important to move at your own pace and create your own schedule in whichever city you end up in. It is easy to get caught up in all the beautiful countries you could visit but it’s still important to explore your own city and see all that it has to offer. When I first got here, all anyone could talk about was where they wanted to go which weekend or how stressed they were to plan their spring break trips. But you have four months abroad, and so much time to see the places you want to go. Some of my favorite weekends so far were spent enjoying Florence!
As grateful as I am for this experience to study abroad in Europe, I still have a piece of me left in Columbia and I can’t wait to see you all again.
I know the beginning of this month caused serious tension between some of you, and I hope that all the loyal Pats fans have begun to mend their broken hearts and restore their relationships. My month began with a trip to Prague, Bratislava, and Vienna, and besides constantly being cold, I had an amazing time. I’m thankful I'm not studying in Prague, though, because I would easily gain 20 pounds eating trdelnik after every meal. Maci and Skyler, godspeed. It’s hard to believe that I have already been living in Madrid for almost two months, and man, what a place to call home. I go to Retiro every chance I get, I am officially basic for how frequently I watch sunsets at Templo de Debod, I have fallen in love with croquetas and eat bocadillos for approximately 50% of my meals, and I have developed a moderate to severe addiction to cafe con leche. I have also met some incredible people here from all over the world, and it’s really cool to be able to relate to so many of them because I have a brother that has studied at their uni before or is studying there now. So, thanks for helping me make more friends. Oh yeah, my vocabulary has already adapted and I can’t wait to annoy you all by talking about my uni and my flat :). Speaking of my flat, one of my flatmates and I went on a trip to Morocco at the end of February and we ran into Ally and Cody while walking through the markets of Chefchaouen...casual right? I love visiting the places each of you fell in love with and having the opportunity to fall in love with them myself. I now understand why everyone that studies abroad (or should I say goes on exchange) has a constant desire to talk about it, but can never seem to find the right words to describe all that they saw and felt. I already know that I will face the same struggle when I come home but I am so excited to talk your ears off about how wonderful Madrid is. Until then, I hope your lives are still filled with puns and Chacos in my absence. I miss you all; don’t be strangers!!
Add me on LinkedIn,
SOU Bros Abroad
This blog serves to highlight the experiences and tips that Brothers studying abroad have.