Finding yourself abroad: Summer in Berkeley

Jinan Moumneh
Contributing Writer

As I made my way to the third floor of West Hall, the Office of International Programs’ door had a fearful touch to it. Was I ready to embark on a new adventure, one that is miles away from the place I’ve grown so used to?

It was nerve-wracking, scary, and exhilarating all at once. There was a new possible opportunity waiting just behind that door. Fearfully, I took that leap and before I knew it, I was applying to the Berkeley Summer Sessions that would allow a batch of students, like myself, to go on a journey through the study abroad program.

The process is most definitely one that is tiring and requires a lot of follow up  as well as a lot of running around. To my surprise, there were many buildings on campus that I had never even known existed. So, it’s definitely an enriching experience even before leaving AUB!

Landing in San Francisco came with such a thrill, something that revived my soul. Walking down Union Square, there was so much to see. A city full of culture and diversity, colorful lights and, as a plus, beautiful weather. Making my way to Berkeley, I had never felt so free.

There is definitely something about being in an entirely foreign place, one that is far from home. One learns from this experience as much as it is out of one’s comfort zone.

My days at Berkeley were fruitful and allowed me to explore and learn a lot about myself, which at times is much more important than a checklist of things to see and accomplish. Sometimes, it is far greater to find yourself especially in a place you do not call home. The road to self-discovery was my top priority at Berkeley.

Having said that, being on-the-go abroad will most definitely come with obstacles. You may find yourself being challenged in terms of culture, beliefs, and values that you may hold. This is all part of the package. It comes with the experience, and it is necessary for you in order to make your stay worthwhile!

I made beautiful memories and meaningful friendships, and I went through a great deal as I found myself throughout those six weeks. Looking back, I can confidently conclude that finding myself was the most life-changing experience of it all. There is nothing more crucial to us than truly understanding the essence of who we are and who we aspire to be.

It goes without saying that the road to studying abroad is a long and tedious one. You should not expect anything less than that, for the journey you will embark on is food for your soul.

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