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).
SOU Bros Abroad
This blog serves to highlight the experiences and tips that Brothers studying abroad have.