The Wall

You head east.

Yep, you break that sacred, unspoken Coloradoan rule and turn your back on the mountains. They’ll forgive you- eventually. You head past the supposedly haunted Mary Reed and the ever illustrious UHall, dash across University Blvd with the sorority sistahs and assorted other Greek and (non-Greek)-life bros making their trek home to Josephine St., and scurry the final block. Inside, you blow on your frost-tinged fingertips; the bright sunshine, while irritatingly blinding, not quite up to doing battle with the potent partnership of a bracing November air and breeze whose bite is slightly more than playful. You’ve almost made it.

So down the stairs you go.

And there it is. In the slight maze that is the I- house, sequestered in the basement – though almost every DU student will make the pilgrimage- is The Wall.

Have you not seen The Wall? Well what are you waiting for?! An invitation? An introduction? Please.

Covered in paper, countries you forgot existed alongside those you’ve always dreamed of visiting are represented. It stands, a memorial to adventure – both those already had and those yet to come. Oh holy Hades, how are you going to choose?

One could throw darts. One could meticulously read every minute detail on every sheet, do extra research, and draft elaborate pro/con pie graphs. One might be better off with the darts. You could turn to the Travel Channel and announce to your friends you will be traveling to whatever country first appears – only to have a show about alligator rastlin’ in the Florida Everglades helpfully and gracefully segue from commercial. Perhaps not. If only you could study abroad everywhere at once – but that might defeat the purpose.

If like me you’ve dreamed of the Southern hemisphere stars twinkling above you, finding Mt. Olympus, and kissing the Blarney stone, you’re about to find yourself at a bit of a crossroads. For me, the best decision is the one that has a little bit of fate thrown in. I managed to narrow down my choices to two. By weeding out places I would have other opportunities to visit and coming to the conclusion that what I was looking for was A Different study abroad experience, my dilemma became centered around Germany and Ecuador. But from there I couldn’t choose. So I submitted both applications not in any particular order, and waited for the study abroad office’s decision. Ecuador, here I am.

Maddie, at a Crossroads
Maddie, at a Crossroads

We easily forget that at DU the question is not usually if you are study abroad, but where. I was sitting in class when I was struck by the rather late-coming realization that the 30 people surrounding me would none be in the U.S. come fall. I will have friends in Bolivia, Mongolia, South Africa, China, Belgium, and more. Whatever your decision and however you choose to make it, what will be, will be. Few have returned with anything but silly grins splitting their faces, secret adventures in their hearts, and a vow to go again.

And now I stand in the 2nd highest capital city in the world, the equator just to my north, and 4 ½ months between me and Denver, Colorado. All those inspirational travel posters make so much sense now.

Adventure awaits! Westward (or Southward) ‘Ho! Hasta la vista, baybay!

Maddie Doering, DUSA blogger

Quito, Ecuador – MSID Ecuador



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