Well, folks, it’s that time of the year, the time when our thoughts start to turn from the present and toward the future. Whether that’s summer, next semester or whatever comes next for all you seniors, spring is here and so is registration. It’s officially the season of change.
For study abroad students such as myself, this means we have begun to contemplate our triumphant return to USC come fall. As much as I all love having the freedom to explore new places and get some life experience under my belt, taking on the world can get a little exhausting. In honor of my semester abroad entering the homestretch, here are some things I miss about good ol’ USC.
Trojan hearts were breaking all over the world when Springfest photos slowly began to fill our newsfeeds. Everyone looks forward to it as one of the best days of the spring semester, and sadly, the only way to see a concert here is the old-fashioned way: pay. And Springfest isn’t the only thing that we missed out on. Every semester, Bovard Auditorium is host to a myriad of prominent public figures, celebrities, authors, politicians, etc. There’s no denying USC has the hookup when it comes to putting on events that people actually want to attend, and not having access to them anymore is a serious reminder that those Trojan family connections are not something to be taken for granted.
Access to quality Mexican food
Armandos, Chanos (now El Huero), Chipotle, Freebirds, La Taquiza, , , essentially any random taco truck. They’re all about a thousand times better than any Mexican food you will find in Europe (well, maybe not Chanos). It’s common knowledge that Los Angeles’ proximity to our southern neighbor makes for some serious culinary influence, but I never expected how much I would miss a proper burrito when I went abroad. Don’t get me wrong, there are restaurants here claiming to sell Mexican food, and their dishes seem to have all the makings of Mexican food. But it just tastes … different.
A variety of social circles
Many people who go abroad manage to make a lot of new foreign friends and become extensively involved in their university. Realistically, however, there’s no way you build up a social circle comparable to the one you spent roughly three years creating at USC. Back home, you can hang out with your roommates, your friends from class, your friends from work and your friends from different clubs and organizations all in one day. Once you go abroad, however, not only are you leaving all of your friends behind, but you also just don’t know many people in general. Not to say that people you meet abroad aren’t great, but as they say, variety is the spice of life.
This one obviously depends on where you might be studying abroad, but anyone in Northern Europe has no doubt been dreaming about those clear, sunny days lounging on McCarthy Quad or chilling in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center, only to wake up in a gloomy, grey nightmare. I knew it was getting bad when I started to classify any day with sun as a nice day. I was casually perusing my weather app the other day only to find that the temperature in Los Angeles was 90 degrees. Quit showing off, Los Angeles. Also, temperatures outside the United States are measured in Celsius. What’s that about?
I hate to get all cheesy on you guys, but there really is no school out there with as much pride as USC. Walking by Tommy Trojan every day, seeing people wearing USC apparel, hearing the band practicing on the field, cheering on our sports teams and so much more — our school spirit is palpable on campus, and it’s what drew so many of us to choose USC in the first place. It’s also something that I have yet to come across abroad. Maybe it’s because I attend a university with essentially no campus and — I’m serious — a carrot for a mascot, but most people I’ve met don’t feel that same dedication to their school that Trojans do. Though it won’t be easy to leave behind the perpetual adventure that is studying abroad, I think most of us await the day when we can thrust our victory fingers in the air once again and get back to fighting on with our Trojan family.
Chelsea Stone is a junior majoring in print and digital journalism. She is currently studying abroad at City University London. Her column, “Traveling Trojan,” runs every other Friday.