By Ronda Warden
I never thought I would study abroad, and I definitely didn’t think I would go to the Netherlands, a country that I could barely point out on a map. Then one day someone came into one of my classes and started talking about spending a week at The Hague. After some consideration, I decided to pay the deposit and spend Spring Break in a foreign country. I didn’t know anyone else on the trip and was worried I would spend the whole time alone. It ended up that most of the group didn’t know anyone else, and we all had similar fears. The first couple days were rough, but then friendships started to form and none of us were alone anymore. Those friendships have continued to this day.
As soon as I got back to Colorado, I started wondering if there was a way to return to the Netherlands. I talked to the professors and one of them suggested being a TA for the next trip. This had never been done before, so I got to act as guinea pig! I had no idea what to expect from being a TA – I just wanted to go back to the Netherlands. I ended up learning just as much the second trip as I did the first. There is a whole different side to teaching that students never see! There is the stress and frustration when students are being difficult, but there is also the joy when they do something amazing.
I would recommend everyone go on a study abroad. It forces you to see how other countries function, what works well and what doesn’t. Then you bring that experience home and try to change your small corner of the world for the better. I never thought I would want to pursue a career in the diplomatic corps or work at an embassy overseas, but I fell in love with the Netherlands and traveling in general, and now I’m trying to create a career that would grant me the freedom to explore the world and all it has to offer.
For more information on studying abroad, visit the Office of International Studies.