So Much To See, So Much To Do

Adam Taylor, Engineering a Craft Brewery Belgium Summer '22

Ever since I was a freshman in high school, I have wanted to travel the world. That year, I took my first French class, and I started really getting into European soccer. I was already fascinated by Roman and Greek mythology from history and literature classes as well, and I loved my world cultures class in middle school. Freshman year was when I truly recognized how much I wanted to see of the rest of the world.
I thought I was going to get my first chance to go abroad to France in high school with my French class, but staffing changes prevented that from happening. I thought I might get to go on one of the Plus3 Engineering experiences, but my parents reasonably figured I should try to save up some more money before doing so. I thought I was going to get to travel Europe with my family after my parents were ready to take us on an unforgettable family vacation, but the pandemic happened. Finally, in a world where the pandemic still very much exists, I was able to go abroad.
I am not sure what exactly my expectations were for my Belgian experience. I knew what the class was about. I knew a couple of the other students going on the trip. I knew I really wanted to go on this trip, but I didn’t know if I was going to like anything about it. My ideas of going abroad were very idealized or romanticized by what I knew from history classes, literature, and other media. I knew my experience wasn’t going to be that, but I wanted it to be.
What I did experience was ten days of fulfillment. I am not the greatest at articulating such feelings, but what I do know is that I was incredibly happy. I didn’t go to Rome or London or Mykonos. I saw the countryside of Belgium and some beautiful cities. I wasn’t near any incredibly well-known landmarks. I saw where Belgian hops were grown and a belt-driven brewery. My time didn’t include the most breathtaking views or experiences, but it was incredibly memorable. I did not get that idealized study abroad experience I have seen on social media, and it didn’t matter. I got an experience that enhanced my desire to see more of the world. I know that whatever I do later in life, it will need to include traveling the world.