In Retrospect…

Emotional growth is something realised only in retrospect. Spending my junior year studying abroad at Oxford and travelling across Eastern Europe with funding from Columbia, I had time to reflect on the differences between my host culture and the familiar urban world of NYC, where I had spent much of my life. These travels leave me with an aching, yearning sense of homesickness for my Columbia family, teachers, and mentors. And yet, although I am now far from home, I can carry forward the lessons learned at Columbia and the Core Curriculum, applying old ideas and texts from Lit Hum and CC to fresh contexts. It’s a process of synthesis, of walking down the street, seeing something familiar, and then realising: “Wow, I learned about that painting in Art Hum my freshman year.” Or maybe, it’s the moment I realise some text I read years ago in French language class is relevant to a research paper I am now writing in English architecture. Study abroad is a sum of these magic ah-ha moments, after which I can accept that Columbia might be only four years, but the lessons learned there can last and enrich a lifetime.

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