Finding “Why”

Amber Burbon
Major: Marketing
Summer II Lyon Program

Studying abroad has always been a goal of mine, but at times it has felt more like a distant dream. It was an idea I fantasized about but one that I kept hidden in the back of my mind. I suppose it never seemed like the right time to drop everything, leave the country, my two jobs, my family and my friends. There came a time when I realized that there may never be a time that felt exactly like the “right” time, and that life is too short to not take advantage of the opportunities that we’re presented along the way.

Whenever I mention my study abroad or my interest in foreign languages to those around me, the questions that I’m most often faced with are centered around, why? Why am I interested in learning other languages? Why do I want to spend the money to study abroad or on foreign language courses? How did my passion for languages begin?

My answer is simple, engagement. Global engagement that is.

Growing up my family traveled often. I loved going to new places, having unique experiences and most importantly I loved making new friends. Every place we went, whether domestic or abroad, my parents joked that I would find myself a new best friend. One of my favorite memories, and one of the main influences in my decision to take language courses and to study abroad, was a vacation to Mexico when I was 8 years old.

On the first day at the resort, while playing at the beach, I met two girls. The first girl, Anna, was from Mexico City. Anna spoke Spanish and English. The second girl, Maxine, was from Toulouse, France and she spoke Spanish and French. There were days when Maxine and I played together at the pool without Anna, and while we still had fun, there was a strong language barrier between us. We couldn’t talk to each other unless Anna was there. Before leaving the resort, we all exchanged contact information and there my interest in learning other languages began. I asked my parents for books, dictionaries and other tools to help me write letters to my new friends.

They say life is about the journey, not the destination. I want my journey to be as globally involved as possible. It’s my goal to learn as many languages and cultures as this life will afford me. I want my journey to be about the people I meet, those whose lives touch mine and whose lives I can touch.

In one week, I will be traveling alone to Lyon, France where I will spend a month meeting new people, while learning about the language, the history and the culture. I could not be more honored, thankful and excited for this opportunity.



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