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A Week in Boston

Monday I got on a plane at 6am to catch a flight from Barcelona to Rome in order to make my 10am connection to Boston. I touched down at 230pm and tried to catch my bearings. The attendant at the information desk had such a strong accent that I felt like I still hadn't left Europe. I had never been to Boston and it was quite a surreal experience to leave the familiarity of Barcelona, Rome and Prague and come back into one's own country, but to a foreign city all the same. The sense of belonging I feel in Seattle (where I'm from) wasn't the same even though the passport checker said "welcome home" as I passed through customs in Logan International.

I've never had the opportunity to spend much time on the East Coast, but I quickly fell in love with the city. Granted, the weather had just recently turned for the better and the snow had melted, but it was exactly, yet not at all what I expected. The people in Boston couldn't be nicer--an abrupt difference from what I experienced in Manhattan during the summer of '09.

I was in Boston for a conference, the Forum for Education Abroad where I met many of the high-rollers in the study abroad industry. I went knowing I had a lot to learn, and I left knowing I have a lot to contribute. Because it was my first year, and this was a rather, high-brow event, I made sure to do more listening than talking. Even so, it was great to be among a thousand people as passionate about international education as I am.

My colleague and VP Operations, Bill Martin attended with me, and it was a great opportunity to put our heads together and go over strategy for the next year. We've identified a number of opportunities for improvement in both WSA and the field as a whole, so check back often to see what we're up to!

Comments:

Mallory Dirks, Simpson College

Happy Backpackers

I chose to do this rather than book my own trip in Rome - I wanted to experience one organized/sight-seeing trip rather than a relaxing vacation like many of my others had been. Two friends and I signed up for WSA Rome and don't regret a thing. We met wonderful people, were led by an awesome tour guide Rhianne, and got to see everything I wanted to see in Rome. Plus eat all the best food. There is an optional dinner on the last night that we didn't do right away, but we ended up going to it, and it was SO worth the 20 euro. I made memories and friends, and got to see a beautiful, historic city thanks to WSA!!

Mallory Dirks, Simpson College ~ University of Roehampton, London, Fall 2015

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