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The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

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Discussion On CIEE Study Abroad Experience

A conversation with reporters Violet Brooks and Dillon Raymond about their study abroad experience with the CIEE program last summer
Discussion On CIEE Study Abroad Experience
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Traveling is a great opportunity to learn about the world and discover things outside your comfort zone. It allows you to get far away from your bubble and have experiences you didn’t know were possible. Venice offers the amazing opportunity to study abroad with CIEE Global Navigators. 

Last summer, reporters Violet Brooks and Dillon Raymond had the opportunity to travel to two unique and historical places through the CIEE program—Rome and London respectively. They both talk about their experience. 

Violet: CIEE—how was it for you?

Dillon: Honestly, going to London’s got to be one of the best experiences of my life. It was such a different experience, totally getting out of what you’re used to. I’ve been doing the same thing for the past 17 years. And to go somewhere, with totally new places, people, culture—it was just really cool. 

Violet: Yeah. I mean I’m someone who’s always been a big traveler. I’ve done it quite a bit in my life, with my family. But I’ve never done it by myself, so that whole experience was crazy, because I was going to a new country, one that I’ve never been to, and I was just alone.

Dillon: Yeah, in the beginning it was pretty scary—I got to the airport and everyone was talking to each other and I was like, “I immediately want to go home.”

Violet: Yeah it was similar for me. I was like, “I don’t think I can do this.”

Dillon: How come you went through with it?

Violet: Well I’ve always been into art history, and I was lucky enough where CIEE had it as a session in Rome. So i was gonna be able to see a lot of things that I already knew previously, and obviously I was like, “Oh I never thought I’d see that in person, outside a computer screen, and so when I got there, there were a lot of times were I was walking around or going to museums and churches or literally just walking the streets and I thought I actually cannot believe I am here”. 

It wasn’t something I saw for myself in the near future, and yet there I was.

Dillon: I feel like our sessions were pretty different in that sense. I mean, London and Rome are very different cities.

Violet: Yep. What’s cool is they held on to a lot of antiquities- there aren’t a lot of modern buildings. And because it’s a city with so much history, you could walk by anything, and there’s historical value. To get to lunch every day we walked by the place Caesar was killed, and they just mentioned it one time in passing conversation. 

You could walk by the place where they had chariot races, and they are still there and now they have concerts there all the time. It was really cool to see a modern city that’s just still so old and still holding on to their art, history and culture, which I love.

Dillon: Did you get to ride in a chariot?

Violet: [laughs] No, they are long gone. Or maybe they were just hiding them, I don’t know. How about you? What was it like in London?

Dillon: Gosh it was incredible. I went for the creative writing session, and London is one of the birthplaces of literature. To be surrounded by all that literary history and inspiration 24/7 was amazing. I remember we were driving down the road one day, and we passed 221B Baker Street, which is where Sherlock Holmes lived, and that was surreal.

Violet: Oh, I love Sherlock Holmes, that must’ve been cool.

Dillon: Yeah, the whole experience was amazing. What’s cool about the program is that not only are you going somewhere new, but also you’re with people who share the same interests with you, so it’s easy to get super close to someone really fast. The people I met I still talk to often—we’re hoping to visit each other soon.

Violet: Yes! I loved being around people who had the same interest in art history that I did since it’s a fairly niche interest around most people I know. It was really nice to walk through the museums with people who were all there for the same reasons. 

Dillon: Do you think that it prepared you for anything in your life?

Violet: I really do. I felt like it was the first time that I was out in the world by myself without a safety net and that was a big learning experience for me. I actually had to figure things out and make decisions on my own, which was the first time I really had to do that. Usually I would have my family or friends to get advice from or help, but over there it was just me, so I had to do what I thought was best. I feel like it was good practice for when I’m on my own. 

Dillon: Yeah I agree. As a senior, I feel like there’s a lot of times where reality hits that pretty soon I’m not gonna have the life line of my home. I think that CIEE was definitely a little taste of that. It teaches you what it’s like to be on your own and makes you realize that you can handle it. It’s a good learning experience for the real world. 

Violet: For sure. Speaking of being a senior, you’re doing college stuff right now yeah?

Dillon: Yeah it’s super stressful and crazy

Violet: Oh my god yes [laughs]. Has CIEE helped you at all for that? I feel like it gave me more experiences to put down and also gave me a lot of essay practice for my applications. 

Dillon: Yes! The essays definitely helped me write my college essays now. It showed me what readers are looking for and taught me how to write a good application essay. Plus the whole independence thing was pretty helpful [laughs].

Violet: I totally agree. So do you think you would want to do it again?

Dillon: Absolutely. I made it a point to make sure a lot of the colleges I applied to have Study Abroad as an option. It’s such a unique experience, one that I think everyone should do at least once in their life. 

Violet: Same here.

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