Wednesday, 26 January 2005

Europe

Note: Welcome to my Euroblog. This blog spun out of a personal blog I've been keeping for years. After I decided to devote a new blog to European politics, I took all entries from my personal blog from the last few years that pertained to Europe and brought them over here. Enjoy. New blogs written for this site exclusively began in June of 2007.
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Last night I went out with a friend, and during our dinner conversation we started to swap stories about our respective travels through Europe. I realized as we were talking how intensely I miss it.

My semester abroad in Prague was the best semester of my entire undergrad experience, and probably the only redeemable semester I had at NYU - the only one where I actually learned something. I remember when I left Prague to come back to New York to finish my last semester. I was so incredibly miserable.

Even the whole time I was in Prague I was having slight anxiety about having to leave eventually. I would keep having these dreams where it was time to leave and go back to the US, but I wasn't ready to leave. Then I would wake up in a panic, and realize that it was only October and I didn't have to leave for a long time.

But eventually I did have to leave, and it was difficult. Once the semester was over I went to Paris by myself for a week, but had a hard time enjoying myself because I was so depressed about my semester ending. My last semester at NYU was quite melancholy. I didn't want to be there, I was angry with NYU for having wasted so much of my time and money. And I just wanted to be back in Europe, where I had felt so excited and engaged.

So now I've been thinking, why not just go back? I had entertained the idea before, and I was planning on doing the "Global Journalism" quarter in my program, where I would work for a broadcast news agency in London or Dublin for a quarter.

However, now that I'm doing this fellowship with PBS, I feel as if it would be foolish to pay full tuition for a quarter of working unpaid, when I'm essentially doing that now here, paying no tuition and being paid. And I would just be producing at one of these placements, which is what I'm doing now.

Of course, I could do a print placement, work for the AP in one of their European bureaus, maybe even Prague. But, now that all my quarters have been pushed forward, I would have to do the global quarter in the fall and then come back to do my last quarter in DC.

My original plan was to do the global quarter last and then stay in whatever country I did my placement in. I figured I could either try to get a job where I was placed or use my time there to do some job searching. But, maybe instead of spending all that money for tuition, I could take that money and use it to just get a ticket to London, find a flat, and try like hell to find a job. Maybe I could even travel around Europe for a bit first, handing out resumes.

The more I think about it, the more I become convinced that Europe is where I want to spend the rest of my life. When I think about my passion, the thing that I daydream about or maintain an affinity for, it's not really journalism, or filmmaking, or anything like that. My passion is really Europe. In my spare time I study Europe, I go into random chat rooms in Europe just to talk to people there, it's all I think about really.

The fact is I'm excited about where Europe is going, and I'm concerned about where the US is going.

I'm reading T.R. Reid's "The United States of Europe" right now. It's really fascinating the way he ties together all of the trends happening in Europe right now in a way that creates a larger picture of a new Europe that could potentially be on its way to becoming the newest superpower, a counter-balance to the United States. Since the most recent expansion in May 2004, the EU now has a larger population, higher GDP, and more trade than the United States. And it's a society which has a different moral orientation than the United States. It's a society that takes care of its citizens, provides a safety net. It operates a social model which I personally find more appealing than that of the US.

So I guess there's plenty of time to mull that over. But somehow I've got to make it happen. When I graduated college I had contemplated going to Europe and trying to find a job, but I wasn't ready. The idea of living so far away from all my friends and family was pretty daunting. But being in Chicago has, I think, prepared me for such a drastic move. We shall see.