Reasons to Return to Vanderbilt
After studying abroad, I further fell in love with Poland. I’m not the only one to fall in love with the place, though, as many of my fellow students in my program were also not ready to leave Poland; they were ready to go home and see the people they missed, but not necessarily leave Poland. I have found studying abroad leaves a heavy mark on you; therefore, it is difficult to leave. However, I have made a list of reasons why to return to Vanderbilt!
For those of you going through college applications and trying to determine what school is right for you, this list can also be used as a “Reasons to Go to Vanderbilt” list. Meanwhile, let me remind myself why I needed to come back!
- Campus. Gorgeous, close-together, squirrels. No, really. Squirrels. I have not seen a single squirrel in Poland, and I know they are here! Instead, I’ve dealt with pigeons. … I hate pigeons. But honestly, Vanderbilt campus is wonderful. There is so much greenery, which unfortunately, Kraków did not have. I can’t wait to go back and see the beautiful green lawns and variety of trees providing shade for a comfortable study spot. I love the bubble atmosphere. You can be in the middle of campus and not even realize you are inside of a bustling city. Yet at the same time, you can walk right outside of campus and join the city life! Plus, classes are close-together, usually, and the buildings are well-labeled and the rooms inside are well-numbered. The only issue is Stevenson, but once you learn the trick, issue gone! Oh, and I certainly will enjoy the ability to walk to class without people constantly trying to hand me flyers inviting me to this restaurant or that concert… Ya know, Kraków being international tourist capitol of Poland, lots of tourists; walking to class only along other students sounds very appealing now.
- Organizations. While abroad, I found it a little difficult to get to know more people outside of my program. It’s hard to really find and join any organizations on campus, particularly if you are in a situation where you know you will not be around the full semester. The classes I took were primarily lecture courses, and because of this, there were no group activities or exercises to help students learn about each other. One wonderful method of meeting new people is through organizations. Vanderbilt has at least 350 of them, so there are many options for everyone! I have a few organizations I can’t wait to come home to, such as concert choir, Susan Gray, VSVS, and Alternative Spring Break.
- Professors. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the professors I had in Poland were phenomenal. However, no professor at Jagiellonian University can say that they live with their students, such as 10 Vanderbilt professors do on the Commons! In fact, one of my professors at UJ was stunned by the idea. All of the professors I’ve met at Vandy have been open to their students. They will sit down and explain concepts to anyone struggling in class, have dinner or coffee with students who want to talk about day-to-day things, and even better, if you have some personal problems, they will take the time out of their day and talk you through it. I honestly cannot wait to go back and have dinner in the Commons with some of my professors from last year, tell them about my adventures in Poland, and also meet new ones.
- Friends. That is the one thing that keeps me counting down the moments until I’m back. While leaving Poland was very difficult, I am also a few days closer to seeing my dear friends! With the number of students at Vanderbilt, it’s difficult to not find a group where you belong. Most of my closest friends at Vandy are actually not from organizations, but from orientation week and random run-ins last year. With the right people, you can create a second family right on campus, and they are what help create all your adventures and memories on campus. People will always be the most important factor for me, and I know that’s usually the most anxious part of moving to a new place: will I fit in? Will I find new friends? All I can say is, no worries! Vanderbilt gives too many opportunities to not find that group you feel most comfortable with. People create the foundation of the experience, and it’s the people I can’t wait to see!