Study Abroad: Leave Me Alone So I Can Grieve In Peace

Dear Spring Study Abroad Students,

When I saw the comment on our return information form, “Leave me alone so I can grieve in peace,” at first I was offended. We were furiously tracking the locations and safety of all spring students and needed to know if you had made it back to the United States. Now that you have returned and we move into a different phase of support, I feel differently about this comment.

I write now not as your study abroad advisor but as a fellow mourner.

At this difficult time, I’m reminded of something Anthony Bourdain said:

Travel isn’t always pretty.  It isn’t always comfortable.  Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart.  But that’s okay.  The journey changes you; it should change you.  It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body.  You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.  

Anthony Bourdain

I know how exciting this spring semester was for you. Some of you spent a few months in another country, some were only there for a few weeks, while some were in transit to Europe when asked to return home. I can’t imagine that disappointment. Even in your time cut short, I know you’ve changed and left something good behind.

Our office mourns with you. We are proud that you chose to study abroad. You are the brave, the adventurous, the wise among your peers. You will have the chance to see the world again.

For now, we are here for you via Zoom, as is (apparently) the rest of the world.

Blair McElroy
Senior International Officer
Director of Study Abroad

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