Saying goodbye to study abroad

I’ve been saying hello to a lot of new experiences since I arrived in the UK and Europe in general. Some have been scary and others exciting. One thing I can say with the utmost confidence is that I haven’t regretted any of my decisions or experiences.

Traveling can teach you a lot about yourself and others. You can see sides of people that you wouldn’t normally see. It gives you perspective on different people, places, and cultures. I have loved seeing so many cities in very different countries, but those two or three day trips have not given me what living in London has. I have started to understand the way people live and go about their everyday lives and that’s something special.

In my past four months here and the one to come, I have created bonds with people from all over the world. People that I would have never met if I hadn’t studied here at St. Mary’s or traveled to Munich or turned right on the street instead of left. I’ve started taking chances and going with the flow. I accept the things that I may not have planned for and embrace the opportunity to overcome adversity.

I would say that London feels like home. It’s not because of how much I love falling asleep to thunderstorms or how green everything gets in the spring, though they are bonuses. It’s the feeling I get when I walk outside and recognize something or someone. I feel welcomed, and that’s something I can say about a lot of the places I have seen. I spent two days in Salzburg, Austria, but I know if I were to go back, I would feel as comfortable as I do in Dubuque, Iowa.

I don’t think that is the same for everyone. I think some people really shouldn’t travel. They can’t handle the constant change in scenery, sleep deprivation, or possibility of getting lost. I thrive on it. A part of me hopes I get lost, and that maybe I will find something unplanned, or meet someone life-changing. I’d rather walk around the whole night than get a good night’s rest. After all, I can sleep when I’m dead.

I would try and talk everyone into studying abroad, but if you aren’t sure of it, don’t waste your money. I have traveled with too many people who have tried to ruin my experiences by being difficult. If that describes you, I don’t think backpacking through Europe would be for you. If you are a thrill-seeker and adrenaline junkie, please, do yourself a favor and get out there. Take risks and see the world. There is nothing that will bring a smile to your face faster than seeing a sunrise in England or a sunset in Italy.

I’ve loved every moment here whether I am writing a paper or climbing up to a fortress. It’s all been spectacular.

I don’t look forward to saying goodbye to the people or the places, but it just means I can say hello to many more experiences to come.

For the last time from Great Britain,

Cheers travelers. Get out there.

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