Memories and Milestones: From Studying Abroad to Bridesmaids
CEA CAPA interviewed friends and alumnus, Carleigh Cooper and Delaney Jenkins, who studied abroad in Barcelona during Spring ‘18. They formed a beautiful friendship thanks to their semester abroad and travels with CEA CAPA which led to Carleigh being one of Delaney’s bridesmaids on her wedding day!
Memories from Studying Abroad with CEA CAPA
Q: Can you share a memorable experience from your study abroad program with CEA CAPA?
Cooper: My most memorable moment was our last day studying abroad with CEA CAPA. Delaney and I went out on a sailboat in the port of Barcelona to see the city from a different angle. We went to the Sagrada Familia this day too.
Q: What role did each of you play in supporting one another's personal and academic growth during the study abroad program?
Jenkins: Carleigh and I both felt some nerves at first while switching from our U.S. colleges to our new CEA CAPA program. Carleigh was always there to lend an ear for advice with any struggles I went through. Whether it was a discussion about new class structures, or the struggles of navigating Spanish grocery stores, I knew I could always depend on Carleigh to provide comfort and make me feel like I had family while living and traveling in new countries. I remember feeling so loved on my 21st birthday after Carleigh went above and beyond decorating our room, planning a lovely celebration, and getting lots of new study abroad friends involved too. We both felt so lucky to have each other.
Q: How did your friendship evolve during your time abroad, and what were some key moments that strengthened your bond?
Cooper: Living and learning together in a foreign country made us really rely on each other for support. Whenever I got homesick, I had Delaney to lean on and cheer me up. It was so nice having Delaney because she could actually relate to me since she was going through the same experience as me.
Q: How did your friendship continue to flourish after returning from your study abroad program?
Jenkins: Carleigh and I went to different colleges, and also lived a few states away from each other, so continuing a close friendship definitely took some effort. Luckily for us, effort was never a problem. We always made time for each other whether it was a call to catch up or making sure to book that next trip together. Every time we get to chat or hangout it feels like no time has passed, and we pick up right where we left off. We've been lucky enough to see each other graduate, get our first jobs, move, and change as we've matured and grown.
Q: Could you share a specific story that exemplifies the unique dynamics of your friendship, particularly during your time abroad?
Cooper: Since our friendship was built off travel, and we travel together so well, we knew this wouldn’t be the last time we went on a trip as a duo. We made a pact while studying abroad that we’d ride a gondola in Italy together. Since we couldn’t make it to Venice while we were abroad. We made it happen and booked a trip in 2019, about one year later, and finally rode a gondola in Venice!
Celebrating Milestones with Study Abroad Friendships
Q: Congratulations on your wedding! Describe the process of one friend getting married and the other being chosen as a bridesmaid. How did that feel, considering your journey from studying abroad together?
Jenkins: Getting engaged and then married was such a special and emotional time for me. There was so much love and excitement to share. I knew as soon as I said “yes” that Carleigh would be a part of my big day! To be honest I knew Carleigh would be a bridesmaid way earlier – even before I met my partner – by sharing such a transformative time together like studying abroad really bonded us and cemented a forever friend.
Q: How did your shared experiences and the bond you formed abroad contribute to your roles as friends during the wedding preparations and the actual wedding day?
Jenkins: Living together abroad and sharing so many life changing experiences in general really allows for a close bond. I feel like Carleigh knows me so well and understands the ways I wanted to be supported through an exciting change like marriage. She knows how to keep me calm and make me laugh, which I value so much and appreciated on my wedding day. Living together during our CEA CAPA program set us up for lifelong friendship which I'm so grateful for!
Q: Looking back, how has your friendship changed or grown as a result of your study abroad experience and wedding?
Jenkins: We've witnessed through so many big life events and changes. I truly can say in the last six years we have grown together and supported each other through all the chaos! We both LOVED Barcelona and CEA CAPA, the program really helped open our eyes to the world and ignite a love for travel. Although our lives look a bit different now, one thing that'll never change is our friendship and our love for travel!
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