Editor’s Column: A World More Traveled

There is something magical about light. It has the ability to transform our entire percep­tion of the world by reflecting and absorbing colors, illuminating and casting shadows on everything we see. The most interesting thing about light to me, though, is how different it appears in different parts of the world.

One of my greatest passions in life is travel. Luckily, I have had the opportunity to trav­el to some pretty spectacular places. From these experiences, I have come to view the world in different (forgive the pun) “lights.” It’s not just the literal sunrise in Limbe, Cameroon, the sunset in Florence, Italy or the shining night lights of Paris, France that hold particu­larly poignant meanings for me. Each of these places has illuminated different truths and helped shape my beliefs, morals, perceptions and understanding of the world around me.

Although I certainly can’t complain about the lack of opportunities I have had, I have to admit I feel very torn. Now that I’m a sophomore, it’s time to for me to think about studying abroad. There is some irony in the fact that I spent most of my college search process trying to find schools with the best study abroad programs. Why, after finding the perfect school for me, would I be so eager to leave? While I love Colgate and can’t imagine what life will be like once I have graduated, I truly believe that studying abroad and im­mersing oneself in a foreign culture is an invaluable experience that every college student should pursue.

But now comes the tricky part. Where to go? I have to choose one place out of the seven continents, 196 countries and thousands of cities in the world. I’m going to be spending four months of my life in said place and need to know that I not only can survive it, but that I will love it. So now I am presented with a dilemma. There is not a single place I have traveled to that I don’t want to return to. Yet at the same time, I want this time abroad to be new and exciting – I want to experience a place I have never seen before.

I tend to go back and forth between different regions, whether the location is English or non-English speaking and whether I can go on a Colgate program or not. The usual pro and con lists that I conjure up for making most of the other major decisions in my life do not seem to be sufficient in this case. If I went to Paris, I could become fluent in French and likewise in Italian if I went to Italy. If I went to Sweden, I could take part in the tra­ditions of my heritage and spend time with some of my distant cousins. Being in Europe would mean easier and more extensive travel. At the same time, Colgate has a phenomenal program in Australia, which would be great for my psychology major. On the other hand, ever since I went to Cameroon I have wanted to return to Africa and study education, the environment and health concerns there. In addition, I have always wanted to go to India, where I could learn Hindi and study contemporary culture.

Clearly I have no idea which direction to take yet. In fact, at this point, it might be best to close my eyes and point my finger at a random spot on the world map hanging on the wall above my bed. Nevertheless, I know that my experience, wherever it may be, will only add to my appreciation for and interest in language, culture and societal differences and similari­ties. Whether I become closer with Colgate students, meet other college students or befriend locals, I know I will ultimately leave with lasting friendships and bonds. No matter what, I know my experience abroad will be invaluable, and I can’t wait for the adventure to begin.

Contact Cambria Litsey at [email protected].