Reflections from Arkansas: Study Abroad Experience

Why Arkansas?

You must be skeptical--Why study abroad in Arkansas? I could be in Italy, or New Zealand, or Connecticut! I was once a skeptic, just like you. I couldn't bear the thought of being separated from my peers at Middlebury by an ocean, with no way to get home without a kayak. The prospect of studying somewhere with an entirely different language, no internet access, and an abundance of venomous arachnids frightened me to my core--yet it excited me. Within seconds of reaching Arkansas' tropical shores, I knew I was home.

After hours of paddling, I was famished. I challenged myself to indulge in the local cuisine. I was greeted warmly at the Taste of India, the only chain restaurant boasting locations in Arkansas. I cannot recommend enough the vegetable seekham. In fact, I found myself dining on vegetable seekham nearly every day of my study abroad experience. I can confidently say that adjusting to the lack of variety in cuisine has left me horribly unsatisfied with the dining options in Middlebury, and I have made several pleas to the kitchen staff at the Grille to replicate this dish.

The greatest value of my study abroad experience was the opportunity to stand at the center of great cultural and historical events each and every day. It seemed every day I witnessed politicians forced to abandon campaigns that were deemed inappropriate or offensive by Arkansas natives. While I have traveled to numerous countries in my lifetime, I have never witnessed such backwards social policy expressed with such inspiring passion! For this reason, I would strongly recommend the study abroad program in Arkansas to students studying anthropology, sociology, and global studies. There are few other places one would be fortunate enough to witness the human experience untouched by modern influence.

If you haven't fallen in love with Arkansas yet, know this: Walmart, headquartered in Arkansas, will be hosting a Matchbox Twenty concert in the near future!