Southwestern Magazine | Spring 2019

Discovering Lizzie in London The study-abroad experience—from a parent’s point of view. 42 SOUTHWESTERN PA R E N T R E L AT I O N S Part of that growth came fromher internship at Bow Arts, a nonprofit in the Far East End of London. To get to work, Lizzie had to navigate the Tube, London’s subway system, for a 45-minute commute twice aweek. In rushhour.With5millionother commuters. One night, Lizzie called us after returning to her dorm to report that she’d taken the incorrect train—and ended up on the wrong side of London. “What did you do?” we asked with parental concern. “I looked at amap and figured it out,” she answered matter-of-factly. (This is the same daughter who not so long ago would call me at work if she saw a roach in the house.) Part of that growth also came from the outings she and her friends took all aroundLondon, across England, and onto the Continent. She and three friends arranged their own fall-break trip and thenmanaged to hit Paris, Venice, Rome, Florence, and Ancona in six days (who needs sleep?). They navigated language barriers; took planes, trains, buses, and gondolas; walked something like 16miles eachday; and sawsights they’ll never forget. I also won’t forget her FaceTime calls from the Eiffel aying goodbye to Lizzie [pictured above, right] last AugustremindedmeofthedrivebacktoSanAntoniofrom Southwestern the year before. I had many of the same parental worries:Would she beOK?What if something goes wrong? Would she eat any vegetables? But this departure was different. This time, Lizzie was studying abroad with Southwestern in London. In England. I was keenly aware that she, just a sophomore, would be 4,986miles away fromhome—Google tellsme that’s 4,888miles farther away thanGeorgetown is—and that we wouldn’t be able just to drive to her if she had a problem. She would have to learn a new culture, a new currency, anewindependence. And, as goodasFaceTime is, shewould have to figure out how to survive inLondon on her own. Even when there were bedbugs. I needn’t have worried. Lizzie’s semester abroadwas a complete success. She didn’t just survive; she thrived. She returned to us not just with greater knowledge and a newset of lifelong friends but withwisdom, experience, perspective, independence, and confidence. She grewup. B Y M I K E B A R R Y P ’ 2 1 , P A R E N T L E A D E R S H I P C O U N C I L I N C O M I N G C O C H A I R S