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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: I still don't speak French

Alison Krug

Newsroom director Alison Krug

Up until just a few weeks ago, I’d never traveled outside the United States. The farthest I’d traveled is Austin, Texas, which is essentially a satellite colony of Carrboro and therefore doesn’t count.

But this Spring Break I had a wonderful opportunity through the UNC School of Media and Journalism to go with the UNC School of Media and Journalism on a trip to London with the UNC School of Media and Journalism (I’m hoping that if I say it enough, I’ll get a free T-shirt) and then spent a few days in Paris.

I am A Person Who Doesn’t Go Places, so this was an incredibly Cool Thing for me.

And as the week went on, I became all the more aware that this was a Cool Thing Not A Lot Of People Could Afford, You Know?

I spent 99 percent of my undergraduate experience floating in a cloud of schoolwork and work work, somehow managing to meet the majority of ConnectCarolina deadlines and check on my academic eligibility now and then. So taking the time out to peruse what financial support options were available for international travel was never something at the front of my mind. Well, I’m graduating in the spring and things are winding down, so let me do some of the legwork for you:

Let the UNC Center for Global Initiatives be your new best friend. CGI offers a compilation of undergraduate, graduate, faculty and staff funding resources. Embark Carolina Funding Finder is a great tool where you can find funding tailored to you.

Check inside your major for funding opportunities. I kept an eye out for the School of Media and Journalism’s annual scholarships. If anything, just settle down and tuck into UNC’s undergraduate scholarships page, which anticipates all totally relatable questions you might have, like “Are there scholarships for Episcopalians?”

Here’s hoping you’ll get to do a Cool Thing like this too.

After all, I learned a lot on this trip. If you show that you’re trying very hard to Google translate “Can I get a fork?” into French, the waiter might give you free dessert, but they will also 100 percent laugh at you.

If you order the smallest, driest, pinkest wine in a pub, the bartender will find it, but they will also 100 percent laugh at you.

If you watch “Moana” on your flight and cry because she’s crossing an ocean, and you’re crossing an ocean, and you just get Moana, you’ll have a beautiful moment, but everyone else will 100 percent laugh at you.

So go chase some travel funding so you can find yourself in a similar predicament to mine: not exactly coping well with being back in the States.

First of all, I’m still calling it “the States.”

I’ve been banned from saying “It’s blah blah in ~Paris time~” in my apartment. I started a paper with “Ya girl is jet lagged” the other day.

And I’m treating my poor, poor feet on which I averaged 20,000 steps a day all week like little baby ducks people clean and swaddle in Dawn soap commercials.

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