By Trevor Reed, Foster Undergraduate who studied at the Bocconi University
On my way to Milan I stopped in London to visit an extraordinary friend from high school. It was my first full day on the crazy adventure that is study abroad. The sun was out in full force and the wind was nowhere to be found. We rented bikes and pedaled through Hyde Park, past Buckingham Palace, along the river Thames with Big Ben and Parliament in sight. We bought tickets for the London Eye and soared above this beautiful city. It was an impossibly perfect day.
This is how I pictured the study abroad experience to be before I left for Milan. Nothing but clear skies and smooth sailing. Meeting friends and exploring the world. Fun comes first and class comes second. Study abroad is all those things, but so much more. It is getting lost in a strange city. It is not being nearly as prepared as you thought because anything can and will happen. It is missing the family and friends you left behind. It is not always as bright as it would seem.
Being in Milan without anyone from UW seemed like it would be daunting. But I quickly learned that no matter where I was, there were dawgs close by. Some of the best trips and biggest festivals I went to with fellow huskies and it was a grand time, every time. It was so reassuring knowing that if I needed some friends or a weekend getaway I could just figure out what the other folks from UW were doing and tag along. There are UW programs all over the world and being in Europe there were plenty close by. Spring break was an especially fun time because the students coming for spring quarter and leaving from winter could all meet up.
Making new friends is a defining part of studying abroad, it is funny how you can meet new huskies even while abroad. I love all my new friends I’ve made from across the globe. But I’ve also loved feeling the UW community from across the globe. I would imagine this is what it is like once we’ve all graduated and gone our separate ways. No matter where we go, there’s bound to be dawgs willing to help out and recreate that feeling I thought was only found on campus.