After months of planning, applying, and waiting, I finally found out last week that I’ll be going abroad in the fall. No matter how many times I tell people, it has yet to fully sink in: as someone who’s never been outside of the country and has made only a few excursions outside of the northeast, I’m having a hard time envisioning my corporeal existence on an entirely different continent for four months, let alone at a school that isn’t Hopkins.
I was accepted into the School of European Languages, Culture and Society at University College London, in the heart of the city. The SELCS program is an interdisciplinary humanities department that covers literature, art history, film and art history in Europe across various time periods and cultural revolutions. Basically, it’s everything I could ever want to study in my time abroad, all packed into one major. I had to submit a preliminary course selection with my application, but because of the way the system works and various other factors I don’t understand, I won’t actually know what courses I can enroll in until I get there. Still, something about this makes it all the more exciting.
As I think about my future time in London, I can’t help but think about how odd it will feel not coming straight back to Baltimore after summer’s end. It only took almost two years and a change in major to hit my stride at Hopkins, but now that it’s happened, I’m starting to realize how much I’ll miss when I’m abroad. It starts with the little things: walking to Gilman early in the morning to finish up work and get a coffee from Alkimia, meeting JHU_Emily in the atrium for mid-day chats and maybe another caffeinated drink, and the ease of taking the JHMI to Alloverstreet each month. Inevitably, I’ll miss the more technical aspects of my Hopkins life: the wealth of cool class offerings for the fall — Gender and Sexuality in Reformation and Counter-Reformation Europe, I’m looking at you! — as well as the groups I’m in (Throat Culture, I will miss you so). Still, I have to keep in mind that all of this will be waiting for me when I get back, and that the experiences I’ll have in London will only add to my years as a Hopkins student.
Whether I’m in Baltimore or at UCL, I can only be thankful for the opportunities that Hopkins has given me thus far, and the ones I have yet to come across. While I’ll miss the ease of being at Homewood this fall, I’m beyond grateful for the chance to study abroad in London, and to be frank, I couldn’t be more excited.