STUDY ABROAD | FULBRIGHT INTERNSHIP IN WALES
By Tobey Condon Wabash ’22
Having the opportunity to attend the Fulbright UK Summer Institute in Wales during the summer of 2023 was certainly a life-shaping experience. I was drawn to the program because of its mission of developing leaders and cultural ambassadors and the chance to learn and discuss serious issues alongside like-minded peers. Given recent events in American society, I felt it was crucial that, as an aspiring leader, I should try to equip myself with the tools necessary to facilitate meaningful discussion on these increasingly contentious problems, both on campus and in my local community.
I believe that my time in Wales helped me to do that and so much more. From the moment I arrived, I was embraced by a welcoming community that was more than willing to share their beautiful country with me and my cohort. In particular, the two peer mentors attached to our group worked tirelessly to ensure that our experience was as engaging and fulfilling as it could be through showing us around the nearby town of Aberystwyth and taking us on trips up and down the length of the country to visit royal fortresses, Iron Age villages and more.
Although the core of the program was centered around lectures and discussions from faculty at Aberystwyth University on topics relating to Welsh cultural identity, I believe it was the time spent outside the classroom that will stay with me the longest. While I did enjoy hearing from the lecturers about everything from ancient myths to modern-day political tensions, I was always looking forward to when classes would end for the day, and I could go with my group to see what Wales had to offer.
Every day was a new experience, from walking through castle ruins nestled between wind-swept hills to speaking with elected officials in the Welsh Parliament about their fight for independence. It seemed that every interaction I had was an invitation to learn about Welsh culture and history, and I eagerly accepted each one. I can confidently say that I gained more firsthand knowledge on the struggles of Welsh public education over pints at a local pub than I did in a lecture room. This meant that in addition to gaining a deeper understanding of the foundations of national identity and guidance on how to be a better leader when discussing these subjects, I also came away from the trip with countless fond memories that I will carry with me through college and beyond.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the pivotal role that my Fraternity brothers at Indiana Gamma played in my time abroad. They were there for me at every step: encouraging me to apply, reviewing my application essays, and reaching out to me when I was away to see how I was doing. I’m extremely grateful to have a community of brothers like the one I have here at Wabash.