Study Break: American College Student Joins Libyan Rebels in Fight Against Gaddafi

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Zohra Bensemra / Reuters

Got a boring summer ahead of you? No worries — just join the Libyan rebel army.

Chris Jeon, a 21-year-old UCLA student, recently popped in and decided to join the revolution. Entangling himself with the rebel army, he’s running with them in the fight against Gaddafi. All because it was the “end of my summer vacation, so I thought it would be cool to join the rebels.”

Jeon, who expects to graduate next May, flew to Cairo and eventually made his way to Benghazi. There he joined up with some rebel forces heading toward Tripoli. But it was not all candy and rainbows: there were a few difficulties. He admitted, “It’s hard to communicate. I don’t really speak any Arabic.”

(PHOTOS: Libya’s New Regime: Rebels Take Over Tripoli)

The rebels clearly — strangely — took to Jeon, though. They even gave him a nickname. And a Russian shotgun, you know, if he should ever have to face combat. But unfortunately, he never made it to Tripoli on top as the rebels slowly gained power in the Libyan capital. And according to a tweet from Al Jazeera English’s Evan Hill, the good will towards Jeon didn’t last long:

Our team in east #Libya said rebels fed up with Chris Jeon, US kid who tried to join, told him 2 go, last seen on pick-up going 2 Benghazi.

However much Jeon was a part of the the rebel army force, he still remained a budget-conscious college student. On why he didn’t purchase a roundtrip home, he quipped, “If I get captured or something, I don’t want to waste another $800.”

MORE: The Hunt for the Gaddafis: Street to Street with the Rebel Fighters

Erica Ho is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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