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While abroad I learned a lot about my identity, the personalities I mesh with and the ones I don't, I experienced uncomfortable learning situations regarding race & culture, and I also was able to push myself to new limits, allowing me to independently grow. If it wasn't for this program, I would have never experienced any of this and I am so thankful for my opportunity.
While abroad I also discovered more of my interests and decided to minor in digital studies! Deciding a minor has been racking my brain over the last year and I am so happy to have finally settled on something I am truly interested in. While I was abroad I was also able to visit Scotland, where so much of my family history is rooted. I flew up for the weekend, met my family, and stayed in the same home my great-gran, gran and mother stayed in. I loved every second of this experience and I am eternally grateful I was able to learn all about my family history first hand. I will forever remember this trip, my growth, and all my amazing experiences I had.
While abroad, one identity that had an impact on me was being an American Citizen. For the first couple of weeks when I was in London, I felt like a total outcast. Part of me felt like a tourist and the other felt like I was permanently moving to the UK trying to find my routine. I remember I was embarrassed to talk in public because I didn't want to be identified by my American accent. Then Donald Trump came to London and I really felt embarrassed. I recognized the hate people of London felt toward our president; we were even warned not to go into or near the town he was staying in and I didn't want to be associated with him or his ideas. I felt that because I was an American citizen people would automatically believe I supported my president and would then act negatively toward me.
Eventually, this feeling of not wanting to be identified as an outsider slowly went away. Once it did, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. Even though it was an uncomfortable experience, I am thankful I was able to learn from it. I have an understanding that no matter what new place I travel to, I will always be an outsider. I now understand that this is something I have to embrace and grow from.