What Cambridge Meant to Me

Janelle D'Avignon Cambridge, England


September 21, 2022

There have been two important realizations made from my time in Cambridge. First, this world is a lot bigger than what I knew, and a lot more beautiful. Now, I know that might sound silly or a bit obvious, but it’s not something many people are able to really grasp the scale of unless they experience it for themselves. Even as someone who already knew I desperately wanted to work and explore abroad after graduation, I needed this experience to actually understand the magnitude of possibilities. Like so many other students, year after year I get consumed by the heavy demands of schoolwork and life, left with just enough room to dream about a future abroad, but very little to plan for it. These opportunities really do give you hope that there is a future out there worthy of the effort you put in. Building a life outside of your safety net takes a lot of determination, but the growth and connections you make along the way lead to an even more satisfying creation. 

Second, while I love going to school and taking advantage of any opportunity to learn just a little bit more, I’m finally ready to find this in a setting outside of the classroom. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have changed this study abroad trip for the world, and I can’t wait to go study for my master’s one day. That being said, I now find the impending reality of jumping into the real world after graduation a bit less terrifying. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my formal studies, but there is so much that cannot be taught in a classroom or read in a book. As Marilyn vos Savant has said, “To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.”

All of this made me excited for life outside of what I’m used to, but it can be just as effective the other way around! One of the friends I made this summer loved her time studying in Cambridge and getting acquainted with another culture, but ultimately, it made her appreciate where she lived back home even more. Both of our journeys, mental and physical, were undeniably valuable despite the difference in what they reassured. If you have the ability to study abroad before you graduate, it is a privilege you cannot pass up. We are incredibly lucky to have the means and connections to make this happen; no matter what you are looking to get out of your trip, every surprise will be worth it!


England Summer