Patriot Perspective, Abroad

Jamal Lightbourne, Contributing Writer

I recently participated in one of our student exchange programs to Leicester, England at De Montfort University. I am a senior and studying politics with a concentration in international relations. I spent three months abroad and enjoyed every bit of this experience.

Before I began college in the fall of 2012, I had a strong desire to study abroad. It was important to me that whichever university I ultimately chose would provide a student exchange program that was compatible with my interests and passions. Francis Marion met my hopes and together with the Coordination of the International Exchange Department, I sought the opportunity to travel to England at the beginning of my senior year. I have been fortunate to take part in the many opportunities that my University has been able to provide for me. Being able to represent FMU at a foraging institution has been the most enriching of them all.

The university in England I attended is comprised of 19,000 students that includes approximately 3,00 international students. It has given me a drastically different outlook on life and what it means to develop as an individual in this globalized world that we live in. I have interacted with countless individuals from various countries around the globe who have helped shape my perspective. I have always been a proponent for traveling abroad, especially to my colleagues and peers in the Francis Marion community. Studying abroad is filled with so much opportunity to learn and grows as not only a student or professional, but as a human being. ‘

The courses in my studies were all discussion-based which has helped enhance the way I think about certain issues. Everyone participated and the classes were small in size, averaging 20 to 22 students per classroom.

Participating in the classes that I took has improved my understanding of internationalism. Topics discussed with students from both western and eastern hemispheres included security and government accountability. I have never encountered anything like it. I cannot express the feeling I got from being able to try to understand students who feel differently about popular topics.
Whenever I found it most opportune, I took the time to travel around Europe. I have been to France, Germany, Italy, Wales and Scotland. Explored various places in England as well. These included Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Oxford and most notably London.
We are surrounded by so much beauty that this planet has to offer, yet we hardly seek the opportunity to explore it. Travel as much as you can. We become well rounded by discovering what we do not know, rather than remaining dormant in environments that exhaust our capability to learn. It may sound dull, but I have found it is indispensable to walk among different people from all walks of life. To travel is to become, and I advocate this golden opportunity to all of my Patriots. I hope that you can also gain a different perspective abroad.
Mark Twain said, “Broad, wholesome, charitable views of people and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.”