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Adventures and Mishaps in Europe

McColm and felow students on their trip to York. (Photo courtesy of Mady McColm).

In the spring of 2017, Drury University student Mady McColm went on the adventure of a lifetime.  This was her study abroad opportunity to “go and embrace the weird.”  She was able to fully immerse herself in European culture over the course of the semester in Lincoln, England, which is located just two hours north of London by train, and  was able to travel on the weekends with the friends she made on her trip.

“We would get really inexpensive train tickets and then just go somewhere every weekend,” McColm explained.  “It was cool to find people who not only wanted to know about you, but who also wanted to share the experiences of an unfamiliar territory around you.”

One of those people was fellow Drury student Kelsey Olsen.  Olsen echoed McColm’s sentiment about the experience of the trips they took, saying that McColm was “really good at keeping everyone together, and reminding us that we were there to have an experience,” even when circumstances like rain put a damper on the trip.

Trevor Cobb, a friend who came to visit during the semester, says that McColm introduced him to rainy experiences as well.

“Typically I wouldn’t just go outside to walk in the rain, so doing that was a unique experience,” says Cobb of a rainy walk he and McColm took in London.

Although spending a semester abroad was an amazing experience there was one crisis McColm recalls.

McColm on one of her weekend trips. (Photo courtesy of Mady McColm).

While heading to breakfast one morning before a planned trip to Manchester, England, McColm stopped to withdraw money at a bank for the trip.  She had three pounds on her when she inserted her card into a broken ATM.  It got stuck.

While frantically trying to jimmy the card out of the slot a lady behind the window kindly mentioned that she had McColm’s card and that she could get it out for her.  McColm was thrilled, sure that a potential crisis had been averted.  Moments later however, she learned should could not in fact retrieve her card because of a “British law.”

McColm was certain that the woman was picking on her simply because she was American.

Just when McColm thought that the situation couldn’t possibly get worse, the woman informed her that she had destroyed her card.  She then proceeded to hand over the cut-up pieces of what had once been McColm’s credit card.  Asked why she cut up the card the woman replied that the card wasn’t a Loyd’s card, and therefore the bank could not prove that it was hers.

It took McColm nearly three weeks to get a new card.  Luckily, McColm was able to borrow money from a fellow student and McColm’s mother sent her some extra funds through Western Union.  McColm says during that time she “didn’t eat out and cried a lot.”  Despite the misery of the entire ordeal, McColm sums up the story up in five short words, “I lived and I prospered.”

McColm made the best of all aspects of her trip and chose to enjoy her time abroad even when things went wrong.  She says that her take away from the trip is that sometimes it is okay to slow down and “drink a beer and relax and be with the people who make [her] happy.”


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