Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Final Reflections

I am now settled in at home and not feeling the jet lag too badly. It is time for my final reflection on my experience of studying abroad. I am going to make a list of all the things I'm thankful I got to experience and see while studying abroad in Scotland.

1. I definitely did a lot of growing up while abroad. There were a lot of little things that I had to deal with that I'd never had to deal with before. Worrying about all of these things while being a student and trying to get the full "study abroad experience" got stressful at times. I learned how to handle the stress, get things done, and enjoy myself all at the same time.

2. My classes. Not going to lie, they were difficult and really frustrating at times, but I learned more about theater in those two modules than I have in a long time. I basically got a crash course in 20th century theater. The lectures were fascinating and the essays were harder and more thought provoking than any I have ever had to write. I don't know if I would want to write them over again, but I'm glad I was given the challenge.

3. Flatball. I am so glad I decided to join the ultimate frisbee team at St. Andrews. I think I improved an incredible amount by training with the team. I got the chance to go to different tournaments and meet ultimate players from all over the U.K. The frisbee team was like one big, happy family and I'm so glad they welcomed me with open arms.

4. Theater at St. Andrews. My final project for my Twentieth-Century British and Irish Drama class was to put on three one acts by Beckett and keep a production journal of the process along the way. I got the chance to act in one of the plays and direct one. I had never directed a play before so it was a bit of a learning curve but an experience that I think was very valuable to have. I really hadn't gotten involved in theater at Knox and participating in this class project made me realize just how much I missed the world of theater.

5. Traveling. Although I didn't travel  as much as some of my other classmates abroad, I got to go to all of the places on my list. I got to travel all over Scotland through ultimate frisbee, which was a pretty unique way to travel. I got to see the inside of a lot of different sports centers. I must say, they were all lovely. I also traveled to Dublin. It was wonderful to see my cousin and have her show us around the city. I had been learning a lot about Irish playwrites like Shaw, Beckett and Wilde so it was exciting to see their city and the mark they've made on it. I also got to go to London. I'd been wanting to go to London since I was little so it was the fulfillment of a childhood dream I guess. Thank you again to my wonderful hosts, it was amazing to see friends while abroad.

6. The friends I made. Like I said, I am so happy the frisbee team welcomed me with open arms. I became close friends with a lot of them and they really did shape my study abroad experience. Because of them I have so many stories to tell and so many amazing memories. I miss them so much already! I plan on making a special effort to stay in touch with them. Hopefully I'll end of up in Scotland again and I'll get the chance to say hello.

There are more than just six things that I got to experience while studying abroad, but these are the ones that came to mind first. I'll write more as I think of them. Below are some pictures highlighting some of my fonder memories while studying at St. Andrews.

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The academic family on my dad's side. We're pretty cool. At least we think we are.
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Glasgow One Day. My first ever Scottish frisbee tournament. It was a blur of 16 minute games and cheering on the other Flatball teams.
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Fancy social. I love the DRA frisbee ladies (plus Eva).
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Edinburgh Beginners. To many good memories. So much silliness. 
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Night out in Edinburgh. 
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Raisin Weekend.
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Our wonderful Tesco Value Thanksgiving Dinner.
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RAISIN REVENGE!!!!
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Ooooh Flatball Christmas dinner. So many fantastic Flatball ladies, I will miss them all.
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Wishing lantern. I hope every single one of my wishes come true.
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Christmas Market. Best last day I could possibly have in Scotland.
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Trip to Dublin.
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Trip to London/Stratford Upon Avon. So many childhood dreams fulfilled. 

I'll probably write more about Scotland as I think of things. It was such a life changing experience and I feel so lucky that I chose to study there. I miss it tons and tons already. 

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