Monday, July 14, 2008

The end of an Adventure

By Ryan Chapman

“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got 'till its gone…” I think back to the Counting Crows and Vanessa Carlton remix of this song as I laid in Frankfurt, Germany’s airport floor waiting for the Lufthansa Airline strike to end.

I thought back to all of the sights I saw, people I met, things I had learned, and fun times Russia and Study Abroad offered. As the song played yet again in my head, I realized it was not describing my Russian experience at all.

My initial goals for going to St. Petersburg, Russia, was to try everything and partake in as many experiences as I possibly could. I kept the time I was sitting in the dorms to a minimum, as I always tried to make the most of time seeing the city, talking to Russian people, eating at local restaurants, and learning the Russian Language. I never left Russia with a “wishing I had of done…” feeling. I truly felt I got the most out of my Study Abroad experience.

As the song in my head grew more annoying (especially the parts where Vanessa Carlton sings, “Mmm bop bop bop, Mmm bop bop”), I tried to figure out what exactly I took for granted over the last 31 days. Then it hit me, America!

Arriving in the states near July 4 was absolutely great. I have never been the type of person to sleep with American Flag undies on, but after being gone from my country for a month it was great to be back at a time of semi-unity for our country.

I had taken America for granted. If you think about it, it’s quite easy to do. I hear so many Americans say they despise our country for various reasons. While it is certainly each person’s right to be able to criticize our country, I feel like if more people were to travel abroad and have other countries to compare America with, than many people's mindsets would be different.





(From left) Ryan Chapman, Caitlyn Mobley, Lillie Steele, Kyla Rodgers and (front) Stacey Oksam.)

Study Abroad has been a great experience that I would recommend to everyone. I hope my blogs have helped anyone interested in studying abroad become well informed of the positives and negatives of traveling. If you have any more questions about my experiences or about Study Abroad in general feel free to contact me at rkchapman@valdosta.edu.

1 comment:

Kyle said...

Going to study abroad and taking study programs are really a helpful experience not only having a great education you will really going to enjoy the experience being in other country learning their language,culture and meeting wonderful people..It's totally unforgettable..