Carolyn Mann, CC'20

Dingle, Ireland cityscape

Learning Responsibility While Abroad

Carolyn Mann CC'20

"Education is about more than the classroom, it is about experiences."

We are all lucky enough to go to school in New York: a global city in its own right. However, one of the best decisions I have made since deciding to attend Columbia University is taking the opportunity to leave Morningside Heights, and spending time seeing just a little bit more of this amazing world.

Education is about more than the classroom, it is about experiences. I will never forget my first time studying abroad. I was about to start Columbia’s Summer in Venice Program, and we were taking public transportation (a boat!) to what would be our apartment for the next six weeks. It was my first few hours in Italy, and I left my backpack with my passport, my laptop, and my wallet on the vaporetto. Luckily, I was able to get this stuff back, and I had learned my first lesson: responsibility. While abroad, there is no one there to hold your hand, which is scary and nerve wracking, freeing and amazing. Studying abroad is full of these experiences: near misses that become great stories if you are only willing to laugh at yourself and take things as they come.

I enjoyed my summer in Venice so thoroughly that I knew I had to go back to Europe, so during the spring of my Junior Year, I spent a semester at Trinity College Dublin. I hopped around Europe, seeing new things, eating different kinds of food, and meeting people from every corner of the globe. And now I get to graduate in May 2020 with the knowledge that I had an experience that will positively impact my life for years to come.