While a majority of my classmates were rising juniors or seniors with 2-3 years of experience at the University of Michigan under their belts, I was a bit of an outlier. As an Early College transfer student, I completed my associate’s degree at a small community college the year after high school graduation, then transferred to U of M with junior status. On campus, my higher grade level and younger age has made me feel like a misfit at times, because while I may be multiple years above my peers academically, my knowledge of the university and the city of Ann Arbor are still developing.
Studying abroad in an entirely different country, though, negated the impacts of this identity. It was a level playing field for all 14 of the other students traveling along with me. Sure, while some may have had more international travel experience or a better grasp of the Spanish language, we were all in a city we had never been in before, open to new experiences and opportunities.
Additionally, my time abroad reassured me that I am not “missing out” by only attending U of M for two years as a transfer student. While college is a fundamental period of young adulthood that has already impacted me greatly, and I know many people that view it as the best time of their lives, being abroad for just those six weeks reminded me that there is so much more to life than what leads up to receiving that Bachelor’s Degree. Life doesn’t end after college; it begins again. And I hope that many more experiences abroad will follow the completion of my academic career.