America is an amazing country. It’s full of leading opportunity, amazing diversity, beaches and snowy mountains, class and chaos, road trips and weekend flights. Coming here, to America, to USC, this is something I’ve learnt simply from the wonder of people I’ve met. My friends from the East Coast act, speak and think in ways that are both similar yet completely different to my friends from the West Coast, or from neither coast.
This diversity is incredible; it’s something unique to America and — I believe — something to treasure and take pride in. However, there is more out there.
When researching and asking around as to why so many American individuals and families tended to stay within the country’s borders, I got two clear leading reasons;
- America is enormous and diverse (true and true), and;
- Traveling abroad is expensive (true again)
I addressed number one earlier, but we can do better than that. America has a multitude of people and ideas and historic landmarks on offer — yet there are a multitude of people and ideas and historic landmarks missing. To claim or believe that one country can come close to the innate diversity and complexities of every country around it – every city and its story – is both naive and narrow-minded. Similarly, to rule out the possibility of expanding your horizons simply because “near enough is good enough” is not good enough.
And now for the second go-to argument. Of course, traveling is expensive, and, of course, money is an issue entirely relative to each person and his or her circumstances. However, anyone that has travelled for any significant amount of time to any significant place can tell you – there is no price tag to the experience of visiting someplace new. The lessons you learn, the cultures you’re thrust into, the people you meet, the chances you take, the challenges you’ll face, the things that will go right and the things that will go wrong — all of these things are far more powerful and personal than anything – anything – money may claim to buy.
Here at USC, there are a whole range of opportunities and programs and pathways to allow you — the students — a chance to explore some new, magnificent, challenging part of the world. You are lucky; you are young and talented and blessed, and the ease of studying abroad when compared to the logistics of traveling as an adult with a full-time job, is something that — should you ignore — you will come to regret.
Challenge yourself to break out of your comfort zone – to jump and risk everything. And as you do, remember; your hometown isn’t going anywhere. You have a safety net.
You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.