Thursday, 26 November 2015

Building Me: Stone by Stone

Wow. I can’t believe this wonderful experience is almost over! No words can accurately express how this semester has changed me, but I will make an attempt.

When I first got here, I felt like nothing could phase me. I have been to many places with my family prior to Harlaxton and I’ve had 2 years of college already under my belt, but studying abroad is a little different. You aren’t with your family, and you start out not knowing hardly anyone - but then it begins.

You go on the first weekend trip. You start to meet so many new people. You decide to sit with someone at lunch who you’ve never talked to before. You become very close with your roommate(s). And then you realize that you aren’t alone; these new, wonderful people are all members of your new Harlaxton family. The connections I’ve made here will be valuable to me for a long time.

Then there’s your houses. I am in Gregory which is named after Gregory Gregory who built Harlaxton. He collected things from the places that he traveled and used them to build the amazing manor house that we now call home. Throughout the semester, Gregory Gregory has been a bit of an inspiration to me for that reason.

Studying abroad isn’t just going to class and traveling when you can or when you have money. You gain experiences, memories, ideas, habits, perspectives, etc. My goal for this semester was to do exactly what Gregory Gregory did. Take something from each place to build me. I don’t necessarily mean that I’ve taken something material from every place, but I feel like I’ve learned a little something from each place. It could be something as simple as reading a map better to something like being more patient or finding some peace with yourself for just a moment. So just like Gregory Gregory, each of us are building ourselves, stone by stone.

For me, each trip has brought something valuable to my life and to my being. Through this experience, I’ve improved myself in the most unlikely of ways. I’ve become more confident in my abilities, I have gained new knowledge through my various experiences, and I have gained new perspectives from my classes, my peers and from what I have seen on my travels. Nothing could replace this experience and I am thankful that I can be a part of this Harlaxton Family.

Written by: Kelsey Fields

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