Lay Kodama

Lay posing for a photo

Churchill Scholarship, 2013-2014

As I excitedly ordered almost everything on the tapas menu in Barcelona, the waitress politely told me to start with fewer dishes and enjoy them with a side of ‘conversations with friends’ instead. Looking around the restaurant, I finally noticed the relaxed atmosphere — couples nursing their glasses of wine while talking and picking at a sharing plate. Since then and throughout my year abroad, I have learned to embrace leisure and stimulating conversations, values that permeate most European lifestyles. Although I am still fulfilling my initial intention of doing research in a foreign setting, I also take time to seek out new opportunities: Christmas Markets in Germany, punting on the Cam River, seeing the continued construction of the Sagrada Familia, performing violin with other musicians at balls, attending formal dinners with scholars and fellows. As a result, I have matured in ways I did not think possible in one year, becoming a more confident, venturous person willing to share stories and, most importantly, willing to listen to the stories others have to tell.