Isabel Friesner, CC'19

Students on rocks in Tasmania

My CC Journey: Exploring My Identity While in Australia

Isabel Friesner CC'19

"Going abroad helped me understand new environments, interact with local communities, and be comfortable stepping outside of my comfort zone it was my first step in setting my newfound path into motion."

Through my time studying abroad in Melbourne, Australia I became more aware of the different life experiences that people have from one another and how I see myself from a local and global perspective. My core traveling group consisted of two people from Canada, one person from Mexico, one person from Egypt, and two people from the East Coast of the United States like me. While we were traveling we would share stories about our high school experiences and the safety of walking around at night or how fast people speed on highways. These conversations made me consider my identity as an American, as a student at Columbia, and as a native New Yorker more than I ever had before. It allowed me to put my experiences into perspective as I compared events that were familiar to me with those that were very foreign and I became more aware of how I relate to others in the world. In addition, my time in Australia helped me navigate my future plans and how I hope to engage with the world and those around me. At Columbia, I’ve been taking public health classes and have a strong desire to learn more about how we can create effective solutions for those in developing countries and around the world. Going abroad helped me understand new environments, interact with local communities, and be comfortable stepping outside of my comfort zone; it was my first step in setting my newfound path into motion.