Facing my final weeks at the University of Rhode Island, I have found myself to be much more attached to this place and the people of it than I ever expected this time a year ago. So before they play the music and I try to rant endlessly over the top of it, there are a couple things to be shared about my time at this paper and the beauty and blunders of studying abroad.

To those who study abroad here or will go somewhere else – jump in.  There is nothing you can take of value from this kind of experience if you don’t push yourself to leave the little international cave these kinds of institutions create for us. College is one of the rare places in life where there’s pretty much every kind of person and they will welcome you if you find them, so push yourself into these opportunities and avoid the word ‘no’ wherever possible.

One of these things for me was writing for this paper. It was pretty inevitable I would stick out in the sport department as one of the few girls, not to mention the accent and the red hair, but one of the beauties of sport is its power to form a quick friendship.

I’ve been pushed to learn and share in a lot of ways:  getting to know an entirely new system of college sports, adapting and writing about very different sports, as well as (upon request) making sure our house cleaner has his delivery whenever I write something. What I will take back from this paper will play a huge part in my future both from an educational and social point of view and it’s a knowledge I wouldn’t trade for anything.

This has been something I have loved doing whilst here and it has added so much to my experience. I can’t encourage anyone enough, international or not, to push themselves into just one group on campus. And to the guys in the sports section of the paper, I can only say thanks for making me feel no different than anyone else who would stroll into that man cave of an office.

For those of you on campus who will come across us wide-eyed foreigners, please remember no gesture is too small. So much of this kind of experience is daunting that the smallest thing can really make the difference in making someone feel welcome or accepted. For me, that was probably when I beat our staff sports writers at pickup basketball.

My biggest thanks to the Cigar and URI. It’s been excellent.