Spring Encounter as Text by Yan Baez Perez 01/27/2022
When initially presented with the opportunity to study abroad I was admittedly hesitant. I had previously held a vague idea to do something of the sort during my time at FIU but had never truly thought about it as it seemed honestly out of reach and implausible. Furthermore, the price and commitment of actually going through with it presented itself as a significant hurdle at first glance. How am I going to pay for it? How will it affect my classes? Will it take away from the time I need to shadow and volunteer for dental school? These were all my initial thoughts at the time.
Recently before the application for the trip opened; however, my aunt, the only grandmother figure I ever had, suffered a sudden and unexpected cerebral aneurysm which placed her in a coma at the age of 76 with no pre-existing medical conditions. This was the first loss I had ever experienced and I felt that feeling of losing someone from one day to the next for the first time. Although her condition at this time is relatively stable, both her life and the lives of my family have never been the same again. This tragedy made both my family and myself take a step back from the day to day and realize the importance of actually living, because although it is very comfortable to stay in our routines as change can sometimes be frightening, every new opportunity to live has innate uncertainty in it. I mean this not in a sense that we need to live the most we can now while not taking into account the future, that is, to live with reckless abandon, but more so in that we need to value the opportunities we have now and be willing to look through the initial hurdles of an experience so that we can gain something to cherish.
This contributed significantly to my decision to actually go through with studying abroad, to put in the work and find the money for it because I realized such an opportunity would never present itself again. I chose the France program specifically due to how the program would delve into particular historical subjects that I have held an interest in such as the Enlightenment and World War 2 as well as how France has historically been a canvas for so many political, artistic, and spiritual discussions. I have previously been to France, and although I loved the environment, people, and culture that was present in the country during my trip, I know that I was only able to gain a surface level view of the nuanced and rich history it contains.
My expectations of the program are for it to be an engaging and fulfilling learning experience that will provide a greater insight into the history of France as well as how the ideas and conflicts that have occurred during its history have assisted in the founding of our modern world and our contemporary perceptions. Furthermore, I am most looking forward to visiting the Normandy American Cemetery as I feel that both the location and class assignment associated with it will have a profound impact on me.