After coming back from study abroad and almost immediately starting classes, it is hard to catch up with all of your PLP friends that you missed last quarter. There was an occasional hello and quick hug while rushing to class, a brief question asking how abroad was or how the fall quarter at DU went. However, there weren’t a lot of opportunities to really talk to fellow PLPers about their experiences beneath the surface. When I heard there was a welcome back dinner for the 3rd year PLPers (or others that were abroad!) at Linda’s house, I, along with other PLPers, were so excited to catch up with everyone and hear more about their experiences.
After eating delicious Thai food, over 50 of us gathered in Linda’s living room (thanks, Linda!) and told a favorite memory from the fall as well as one thing we learned about ourselves. From memories about getting lost, eating questionable food, and hugging a koala, there was tons of laughter and of course, lots of follow up questions. But beyond all the laughter and funny stories, the stories we shared were really about growing up, understanding new cultures, and respecting differences. It was a great way to move beyond the surface and really hear about peoples’ fall quarter adventures both at DU and abroad. It was so special to learn about the ways in which my fellow PLP peers grew, especially in their sense of self-confidence and independence among many other things.
After hearing everyones’ memories and the things they learned, Linda ended the night by reminding us of the significance of our experiences, highlighting the responsibility we have to share our stories about the cultures we encountered with honor and respect. It is such a privilege to get to study abroad and be welcomed by new communities, new people, and new places. It is also really nice to come home and know that your PLP family is still there and stronger than ever.
Written by current PLPer, Bethlehem Besrat (’17)