Christa Simone's Study Abroad Experience
"My name is Christa Simone. I’m a senior in Lowell House concentrating in neurobiology. I spent the summer of 2010 in Copan, Honduras with the Harvard Summer School and the following fall semester studying abroad in Paris, France with the Columbia-Penn Reid Hall program. I can’t overemphasize what an awesome and meaningful experience study abroad has been for me.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a family that loved to travel, so travel whet my appetite for adventure and discovering new parts of the world. But I had no idea how incredible it would be to actually live somewhere else instead of just being a tourist. Living in a foreign country allowed me to become much more open and receptive to other cultures and perspectives. And being put in uncomfortable situations allowed me to grow and mature as a person. The people I met and the experiences I had taught me so much about the universality of the human condition. Everything I learned that semester was very different from the kinds of things we are taught at Harvard, and that was my favorite part of getting out of the bubble.
I had always planned on studying abroad once I got to college. But once I arrived at Harvard, the “I don’t want to miss a semester here” mentality overtook me, and study abroad was off my radar. But then over winter break I remembered my old dream of going abroad, and I started looking into programs. I’m so happy I did, because my time abroad has definitely been one of my memorable experiences so far. I loved waking up every day and having something new to discover, whether it was something small like walking down a new street in Paris, or something really big like travelling to the Sahara desert in Morocco. Going abroad is an incredible learning experience that cannot be replicated in a classroom. I hope everyone takes advantage of this great opportunity – we are here at the OIE to help!
Email: csimone [at] fas.harvard.edu