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Aug. 3, 2016

Brandi Scarber: My journey through Europe

Aug. 3, 2016

Brandi Scarber is a junior from Detroit majoring in journalism in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

When I heard that there would be an opportunity to study abroad in Paris and Rome and learn about sports journalism, I knew that I had to figure out a way to make myself part of the program.

This was a chance to study and learn about what I love in two of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it was the first ever program of its kind at MSU. There was no way I was going to let this opportunity pass me by.

The trip had all the makings to be one of the greatest experiences of my life. And it was exactly that.

I was able to see and experience things that — at the time — were unimaginable.

The first stop of my program was Paris.collage of Paris landmarks

Everywhere I went in the city was so rich with culture. Locals walking with baguettes, people in the latest runway fashion in grocery stores, fresh crepes being made on each corner and every building was a beautiful piece of artwork.

Aside from the obvious language barrier, there was a lot to get used to in Paris.

The cars, homes and even the sidewalks were smaller. The people were very, very quiet. When my classmates and I traveled together in a group, we stuck out like a sore thumb because, more often than not, we were the only ones talking.

I went to sleep each night with a beautiful view of top of the Eiffel Tower, something that I could’ve never imagined being possible.

Next stop: Rome.

Rome seemed to have more English-speaking natives than Paris, which slightly lessened the culture shock.

Rome sightsLike Paris, Rome was rich in culture. Streets were paved with cobblestone, there were breathtaking ancient ruins, musicians played in alleyways and the best part –  the amazing gelato and food!

On my journey, I crossed paths with many students from MSU, chanting, “Go Green, Go White.” It was surreal to see that so many of us are doing great things around the world.

Locals would even recognize me by my Spartan hat or pin on my jacket, and it made me proud to think about how amazing the Spartan brand actually is.

My professors Joanne Gerstner and Lori Anne Dickerson worked extremely hard to put together an amazing schedule.

Some awesome journalists, athletes and professors visited us and gave us insight on how they have been able to develop their careers in Europe. We were even able to have a private tour through the facilities for the Rome 2024 Olympic Bid, which was my favorite activity of the entire trip.

After learning about the journeys of these professionals, my perspective regarding my career path has been broadened. I now have an expanded understanding of the opportunities that can actually be available to me once I enter the workforce.

This trip forced me out of my comfort zone and helped me learn how to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I don’t even think that during the trip I realized how much of an impact it would have on me. But now as I reflect, I understand. It’s not often that someone who comes from the background I come from would have this opportunity. And I relish that.

At 6 a.m. June 27., I said “goodbye” to Rome, but said “hello” to a new perspective and appreciation for life as a result of being apart of this program. My vision has broadened and now I can see even more possibilities for myself.

I would strongly encourage any and every student who is slightly thinking about studying abroad to just do it. Don’t overthink, just do it.