Spring break is a month away, and already people are making plans for Florida. Or if not Florida, somewhere south of Greencastle where the sun shines brighter and the temperature breaks 50.
Not me. I’m going to Canada.
I’ve wanted to see Canada for years. No particular reason; I’m just curious what’s up there, how it’s different from the U.S. You never learn anything about Canada in history classes, so it has this air of mystery that’s pulled me in since I was a teenager.
March seems like an odd time to go to Canada, but senior year spring break is the perfect time to travel where you’ve always wanted to go. For some of us seniors, this is the last time we’ll have a designated week in the year where we can go anywhere, do anything. I want to spend that week checking off something on my bucket list.
Canada is cheap, for one thing. You can drive there, avoiding plane tickets, and the Canadian dollar is weaker than the U.S. dollar. Using Airbnb, you can stay in a nice studio apartment for $56 a night. And it’s off-season, meaning less traffic and fewer tourists.
But even if Canada doesn’t appeal to you, there’s something to expanding on in-class education and actually going out to experience different places. One of the great things about international winter terms is that we get to come into contact with other cultures. Sometimes we’re out of our comfort zones, but that’s good. It’s too easy for some of us to get comfortable at DePauw, and we need to break out of that experience if we’re ever going to understand what some of our fellow students feel on this campus.
Yet January isn’t the only time of year we need explore and try new things. Spring break offers the perfect opportunity to take advantage of off-seasons and see new places for what they really are. Even if it’s just leaving Indiana or your home state, having new experiences is an important part of our education.
I could end up in Toronto and think, “just like the United States.” But I doubt it. I imagine Canada will offer me a new perspective on myself and my own country, offer me a look into a place with different people, different rules.
I understand I’m suggesting this from a place of privilege, a place where I have the time and money to do something like this. But spring break is built in time. And if you have the money or could save it over the year, a worthwhile way to spend it is to take that leap and learn something new, about the world and yourself. That might be Florida, if you’ve never been there. But it might also be that trip you’ve always dreamed of taking.
Even in different cities around the States I can’t help but be reminded what a big world it is. The Midwest is such a small part of it. But we’ll never know what it’s like if we don’t go out and see it.
Sausser is a senior English writing major from Indianapolis, Indiana