hen Jill Bosserman stepped off the plane, a sense of anxiety she had never
known washed over her.
That’s common among students studying abroad, who often plunge into
an unknown culture where few people may speak their language. But Bosserman’s feelings
came not as she arrived thousands of miles away in Scotland, but after she landed in the
United States when her trip had ended.
So much had changed in the five short months that Bosserman, a junior with double
majors in history and English, studied at the University of St. Andrews that she can use the
experience as a clear delineation between an old version of herself and who she is today. “At
the risk of sounding overdramatic, everything changed. Literally almost everything in my
life changed,” Bosserman says.
Bosserman left Purdue for the United Kingdom in the spring of 2014 with every
intention of coming back to Purdue to finish her degrees and apply for law schools. She was
focused on doing all the things necessary to establish, build, and flourish in a stable and
Friends at St. Andrews spent time in singing clubs, venturing around Europe, and
sitting up late discussing things she’d never found the opportunity to think about, opening
her mind to new ways of looking at the world.
These classmates weren’t sure what they planned to do after college, and that didn’t
terrify them. They were smart, funny, and driven, but they were more interested in taking
in the world before going down a single path. It’s the sort of idea that would have terrified
Bosserman before she studied abroad. “We’re so focused on careers, internships, and jobs
here. I never really thought to question that,” Bosserman says. “My friends in Scotland just
don’t place that kind of pressure on themselves.”
Jill Bosserman, a junior studying history
and English, enjoyed roaming the ruins of
St. Andrews Castle (left), and couldn’t resist
the lure of a classic red telephone booth in
Edinburgh (right). Photos courtesy of Jill Bosserman.