Walking through the halls of Spotts, you cannot help but notice the countless numbers of posters advertising travel abroad. Cuba, Istanbul, Italy. All of these are experiences any one would love to have and places most people only dream of going. I cannot stress enough the importance of travel in your life. Personally, I have gone to Italy in the pre session trip twice now and it has changed who I am. Not only did I experience an entire new culture and way of life, I made friends that feel like family to me now. Being forced to live with a group of people you hardly know for two weeks straight without cellphones and texting for the most part is extremely eye-opening. You learn to live without the devices that most of us are addicted to. You grow as a person and you learn to look at life through a new lens.
I know a major concern for people when deciding whether or not they want to travel abroad is the language barrier. When I went to Italy, I literally knew zero Italian. All you need is a few basic phrases like, “Parla inglese?” (Do you speak English?) and “Quanto costa?” (How much? To be used when you want to know how many Euros that scarf you’re dying to have costs.) For the most part, people are understanding and if you don’t know how to say something, simply ask. As long as you show you are trying and are not rude about it, people love to help in any way possible. Oh, and I forgot to mention the best part: you earn class credits on this trip too.
If you’re thinking that going out of the country isn’t an option for you right now, I’d strongly encourage you to travel somewhere regardless. Traveling to conferences and presenting works from your major is another great opportunity to travel. In March, I traveled to Portland, Oregon for the Sigma Tau Delta English International Convention and it was another life changing experience. Seeing cities other than Slippery Rock and Pittsburgh is exciting and challenging. It requires a sense of adventure and prepares you for life outside of college and a career in an unknown city. Just recently, I went to a wedding in Savannah, Georgia and it was gorgeous and thrilling. Little shops and surprises wait around every corner for you no matter where you go. You can find quaint coffee shops somewhere as simple and close as Shippensburg, Pa.
If you’re thinking about traveling to Italy for precession, lucky for you, there is an informative meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12 during common hour in room 304 of Spotts. Oh, and there’s free pizza. So go, learn a little Italian, and start planning your exhilarating adventure to Italia. There’s no obligation attached to attending. Like I’ve said before, live a little; it’s worth it. It doesn’t matter where you go, just go.