By GRAY WHITSETT – OPINIONS SECTION EDITOR
Centre College has long set the standard across the country for study abroad programs. From China to England, students who attend the small liberal arts college in central Kentucky can choose between eight different semester abroad programs that provide travelers with a university experience like no other in a foreign country. Some programs are led by Centre faculty while others directly enroll students in their university of choice, but the end result is always the same: a study abroad experience that participants won’t stop talking about, no matter how much family and friends desperately want them to.
Now that the semester is over and students are returning, not everyone is happy.
“If I have to hear about how they do things in England one more time I’m going to request a new roommate,” sophomore Larry Bowels said. After his good high school friend came to Centre with him, they roomed together freshman year, joining the same fraternity and continuing their living arrangements during their second year. But after Bowels’s friend, sophomore Trevor Johnson, spent a semester studying at England’s bucolic and Oxford-wanna-be University of Reading, Bowels has grown disenchanted.
“I love the guy, I really do, but Jesus Christ if he ‘accidentally’ says cheers instead of ‘thank you’ again, I’m going to lose my mind. And no, you can’t order a pint with a meal at age 19. You didn’t forget that. You were gone for less than three months.”
And apparently Bowels isn’t alone.
“I was so happy for my friend, Mary, when she got accepted into the Strasbourg program,” junior Terry Powers said. “But now that she’s back all she does is complain about everything and Skype her friends from France.”
For Powers, the worst part of it is losing the traditions she had with her friend before leaving. “We always used to go get ice cream together. So I texted her seeing if she wanted to go grab some. She asked if we could have éclairs instead. I asked her ‘Who’s Clair?’ All she replied with was ‘haha’ and a series of French flag emojis. I cried for over an hour.”
Concerned that this effect was isolated to the endemic arrogance of European culture, students with experiences from other programs were contacted.
“She came back so tan,” senior Will Myers said. Having started a relationship with fellow senior Vivian Randolph before her departure, Myers was ecstatic to have her back stateside after her time abroad. But soon the relationship began to unravel.
“She craved Mexican food all the time. The woman was insatiable. I brought her Guadies by the bucket load but it was never enough. Eventually the smell got so bad we just couldn’t be together anymore.”
Breaking into tears, Myers elaborated. “I know the climate here isn’t as good and I know Petron was cheaper there but I just miss her so much, you know?”
It seems then that many students who go abroad come back changed, and maybe not for the better, at least according to their friends. But what did the students who went abroad have to say?
“I don’t know if it’s because I constantly belittle my home or integrate inauthentic lingo into my vocabulary but my friends don’t seem to want to worship my abroad stories,” the previously introduced Johnson said.
Through a disingenuous British accent, Johnson was confused about why he’s having trouble fitting back in. “My mates back at Uni were much cooler.”
Others seemed to have an even stronger connection to their place of study.
“When I was in Strasbourg I fell in love,” sophomore Mary Hopkins said. “I had a boyfriend back home, but for some reason I thought three months would last a lifetime. You’d be amazed at how quickly it fell apart. Having an actual workload, schedule, and generally living in the real world was really difficult on our relationship.”
“It’s not that I think just because I went to Merida I’m better than those who haven’t gone abroad,” Randolph said. “It’s just that in every interaction I have with people I give that impression and consistently say how much I’d rather be there. You wouldn’t think the people that love you would be so sensitive.”
Study abroad has long been a staple of the Centre experience. A chance to see the world, meet new people, and escape real life problems awaits anyone who journeys to one of the school’s eight semester programs.
“I permanently damaged relationships back home,” Johnson said of his experience, “but I gained relationships that will last at least until March.”
Editor’s Note: The previous article is from the CentOnion series, a satirical publication focused on parodying various subjects unique to Centre College’s campus.
As such, all content within this article is purely fictional and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Cento or Centre College.
In addition all quotations used in this article are purely fictional and do not necessarily reflect the views of the individuals quoted.