Okay, so maybe anthropology versus archaeology isn’t a great debate outside of the confines of my head. One of the reasons I chose my college in the States was because of its archaeology program. In a world where very few solo-archaeology programs exist at small liberal arts colleges, I was ecstatic that the College of Wooster allowed me to have the best of both worlds. However, come my Sophomore year, I found myself increasingly interested in anthropology and decreasingly interested in archaeology. It’s not that I didn’t love archaeology, or didn’t think I could have a career in it – anthropology had a different feel to it. It felt like a passion and less of a course of study. When it came time to tell my archaeology advisor that I was switching to anthropology, it was a bittersweet parting (I may or may not have teared up in her office).
Now, you may be asking yourself: Marloes, how in the world is this topic of thinking applicable to study abroad? Well, because of my progress in both my art history and now, anthropology major, while studying abroad, I could take any courses I wanted to. Because I love art history, I really wanted to take an art history course. I was excited to take a course called Six Masterpieces in Context. Alas, it was not available the semester I am abroad. However, I found a wonderful anthropology course called Anthropology, Museums, and Society, as well as a rather appropriate archaeology course called Scottish Archaeology. Once again, I found myself caught between anthropology and archaeology. However, my semester thus far has further solidified my side in the great debate. Although I enjoy my Scottish Archaeology course, I do not have the same level of excitement and interest as I do for my Anthropology, Museums, and Society course. On the first day of my anthropology course, a student looked at me, knowing I was a study abroad student, and said, “Did you come here just for this course?” His voice was teasing, but the question resonated with me. This person I barely knew, in less than two hours, already knew the right answer to a question I had been asking myself for two years.
So, if you’re anything like me, take courses while abroad that will help answer the questions that have always bothered you. Did you ever wonder if you wanted to be a history major? Or maybe a pre-med student? Take a class while abroad that will help quiet those thoughts. Being abroad is valuable for learning about the world around you, but it is also valuable for learning more about yourself.