That's what the University of Pittsburgh is telling the latest crop of incoming first-years this week, inviting them to luaus, meet-and-greets, and events the school describes as "solemn Freshman Convocation and Lantern Night ceremonies." Like Pitt, colleges across the city and the country are encouraging their charges to explore their new homes.
But for lots of students in Pittsburgh, the journey also ends here. Over the next four years, many undergrads will never venture much beyond campus and its orbiting system of party houses and bars. In all that time, they may taste nothing more exotic than grain-punch alcohol; Downtown will remain a mythic Xanadu whose existence they can only guess at from conversations overheard on the 54C. Sadly, once they graduate, they will likely leave Pittsburgh for the wider world, claiming there's "nothing to do here."
But traces of that wider world can be found in our own backyards. The Cathedral of Learning's Nationality Rooms are a great place to study interior decoration in faraway lands, sure ... but the living traditions of these international cultures are often just a few blocks away. On the pages that follow, you'll find just a handful of some of the destinations you can visit without ever leaving the 412. The world, it turns out, can literally be at your doorstep. Just like the overstuffed couch on your porch or the passed-out frat boy in the hall.
DESTINATION: Middle East
DESTINATION: Latin America
DESTINATION: South America