Giving Thanks Around the World

This Thanksgiving, the CGE staff wants to give thanks around the world – for our friends, our adventures, our life lessons, and our experiences all over the globe. Here’s what we’re thankful for this year!

“I’m thankful that I got to see so many awe-inspiring sights – I couldn’t have done that without my supportive parents – and for the warm-hearted strangers who reached out to me and left a mark in my life.” – Amanda Low, Graduate Assistant

BODY-cge-student-staff“I’m thankful for the people I met who pushed me to try new things, and the the mountains and beaches of Cape Town.” – Bea Baker, Peer Adviser

“I am thankful to my parents, who didn’t freak out when I said ‘Hey, I am joining an NGO and going to rural Africa for 4 months’ after already being abroad for 10 months taking time off from college. I am also thankful for the Malawian family living in a village in the middle of the savanna who shared with me their dinner and taught me about how little you actually need in order to be happy.” – Laura Semenow, Associate Director

“I’m thankful for the kind English-speaking Czech family who helped me distinguish which bathroom was for men and which was for women on my first day in Prague. You would think that in months of preparation that would be something I would look up at some point.” – Raye Leonard, Peer Adviser

“I am grateful that construction does not exist while flying the friendly skies!” – Shanna Blount, Assistant to the Vice Provost

“The first time I led a faculty-led study abroad trip, I found out I was pregnant two days before we left for Ghana.  I’m thankful for everyone who took care of me on that trip.  One Ghanaian colleague told me where I could buy some calcium supplements, my students went to the ex-pat grocery store to surprise me with some cheese which I was craving and is not easy to come by in Accra, and the bus driver was always willing to try to find a place to stop for me to use the restroom (again, not always easy to do traveling around Ghana).” – Lara Foley, Associate Dean

“I’m so grateful for the kind people who taught me to laugh in the face of anything. In spite of illness, cultural blunders, language mistakes, and poverty, I learned that laughter is the bridge that brings us together, and the relief we need in trying situations. I’ll always be thankful that my host families taught me how to laugh at myself!” – Elissa Stiles, Marketing Coordinator

“I am thankful that durian [fruit] exists, though I miss it greatly.” – John Westbrook, Graduate Assistant

“I’m thankful that I got the opportunity to interact with and make friendships with people from around the world, who I never would have met if I hadn’t studied abroad. I’m also thankful for the strange people who ride the Underground in London each day for making me feel like the most normal person in the world.” – Emily Taylor, Peer Adviser

“Thankful for the cab driver who bartered for me in the Silk Market in Beijing, despite getting the evil eye from the vendors!” – Candice Chinsethagid, Short-Term Programs Coordinator

“I am thankful for visas on arrival. I have never had to apply for a visa before I landed in-country. It is the mark of the tremendous privilege we have as US Americans. It is a reminder of how blessed we are and is a subtle encouragement that we can do more- that we can engage in the world, can educate ourselves in and about the far corners of the world, and can speak up where others cannot.” – Colin Large, Study Abroad Coordinator

“I am thankful for the man who sat across from me in London’s Waterstones bookstore as he brightened my day, which was full of painful blisters from the amount of walking I had been doing in the very wrong kind of shoes. I will never forget his golden pyramid hat, for which I later learned he was quite popular in the UK.” – Luke Wagner, Peer Adviser

“I am thankful for all of the study abroad alums who have gone on to change the world, as Peace Corp volunteers, as English teachers living abroad, as community volunteers, or as informed and responsible global citizens.  Now more than ever, we need to remember how connected our lives are with those in other parts of the world.” – Cheryl Matherly, Vice Provost