Studying abroad makes student appreciate 'Hurst

I picked up my suitcase at baggage claim in Heathrow Airport in London, England, walked out into the rain, called over my first cab and got in.

The kind British cab driver asked me in his welcoming accent, “So are all American colleges like the ones we watch in movies over here?”

Months and months went into planning for this trip and it struck me as almost funny that within minutes of starting my dream of studying in London I was thinking about Mercyhurst College.

When answering my new friend I found myself gushing over the college about which I usually complain.

The thing is, this school is not like most schools as seen in movies and television shows. It is not like what the rest of the world apparently assumes about the American education system.

It was an interesting experience for me to hear how American colleges are perceived across the ocean. He asked me about the outrageous parties and fraternities and sororities and the constant binge drinking. I will be the first to tell you he was not the only person that had this perception of American college students.

After the embarrassment of having a complete stranger call me out within minutes of arriving, I started to explain Mercyhurst to him.

I told him of the tight-knit community I have been lucky enough to become a part of and about the activities and opportunities that seem to be rare when comparing Mercyhurst to other colleges that my friends have been attending for so long.

My goal for this year is to try and be more optimistic. I mean, it is my last year before entering the real world…the world we have all been preparing for. I think this is the time to soak up every college experience and every aspect of Mercyhurst before it is too late.

It is a scary thought—leaving this place. It is a time I bet most of my classmates would be willing to agree that came all too quickly. But we have been lucky enough to attend a college that isn’t what the rest of the world sees in American colleges. While we do have a blast, the quality of our college and the reputation of the education we are receiving is more than above par.

While my trip to London was an unbelievable, life-changing experience, there is no way that I would have been able to make it to that trip without the help and attention of many people that are here, at Mercyhurst.