As the last day of finals week and the fall semester came to a close, I sat watching TV attempting to forget the horrors of the week and to enjoy the last moments with my friends before we headed back home for winter break. When I received my CR acceptance email, my initial reaction could be considered dull and delayed. After a long and tiring week of testing, I was almost positive that my eyes were deceiving me due to fatigue. However, as I handed the phone to my friends to read, they whooped and hollered and gave me hugs. Their excitement was infectious and caused me to break out in a huge grin, the realization of what that email meant finally hitting me.
I first learned about CR through a good friend, a CR9 alum. I remember keeping up with his blogs when he first mentioned to me that he was going to be spending almost an entire month in Europe. The many pictures and blogs posted began to excite me and I swore to myself that I would at least apply. When I got the chance, I asked about his experience. His eyes lit up, pumped to tell me about his experience. The more I heard, the more I yearned to go on CR.
I am not going to attempt to sugarcoat why I first applied to CR. Isn’t it obvious? Getting to travel to Europe, which I have only ever passed through, and the stories of the amazing community hooked me and encouraged me to apply. However, as I have spoken to more CR alumni across campus and through our monthly meetings, my reasons for wanting to go on CR have changed. Although the thought of backpacking through Europe and visiting many historical cities still excites me greatly, I realize that experiencing fantastic community and personal growth are two things I hope to gain on my CR experience.
I have been able to hear of and witness the community of past CR groups. There aren’t too many days where I don’t see a group from CR conversing or walking through life together. The excitement that I hear in the voices of CR alumni who get to share about their community and how close they are to each of their groups only fills me with excitement in knowing that I, too, am going to witness that. I realize through seeing fantastic community, that I have lacked that same community in my own life. It is something I desire greatly and seek earnestly as I go about life.
Through CR, I also hope to grow as a person. I have heard countless stories of CR being a life-changing or a defining experience, especially as a student at TCU, and I hope that CR can do the same for me. My freshman year has been full of questions and doubts about where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing and I hope that CR can lead me to be more passionate in my schoolwork and all that I do. One CR alum mentioned that this experience was one that helped him rediscover his passion for learning and I hope to God it can make a similar impact on my own life. The opportunity for extreme personal growth is both daunting and thrilling, but it is something I also yearn for greatly.
Cultural Routes will be everything I expect, and I believe it will be even MORE. I hope my expectations will be blown out of the water and that my experience on CR, and my experiences with the people with me, to be something that I hold onto and cherish for the rest of my life. As each day passes, I cannot contain how excited I am to be fully immersed in diverse cultures and to get to know my fellow CR members. I am anxiously and eagerly waiting for the moment my flight lands in Berlin.
– Marat Rosencrants