11 countries, 30+ cities, 19 plane rides, and way too many hours on a bus – my time abroad officially over and I can’t believe it!
How do you sum up such an impactful experience? There are no words.
Maybe there are no words because I’m jetlagged, maybe because I’m still in denial that it’s over…either way it’s impossible to summarize a semester abroad (I think that other students can vouch the same).
I was talking to other Chapman students about our experiences abroad during our layover in London. When we were comparing stories, we started talking about how indescribable our time abroad was, and how difficult it is to explain to someone that hasn’t been through it. One girl explained it really well. She said that before studying abroad, she used to scoff at previous study abroad students that wouldn’t explain their time abroad, that’d give a short reply like “it was amazing” – as if they were above us. She continued to explain that such a response makes sense now; it’s really hard to wrap up your semester into a sentence or two in an attempt to convey your experience to someone that hasn’t been through it. I couldn’t agree more! I’ve been home for less than 24 hours and it’s SO DIFFICULT! Some people will understand, some people won’t. Some will care to hear about your semester, some won’t. If someone asks me about my time abroad, I’ll explain in the best way that I can. But at the same time, some stuff is personal. The memories of paddle boating on the Vltava river with friends, or watching the sunrise with my roommates on our last day together. There are so many feelings I wish I could emulate. You can’t explain all of the feelings of being abroad, and there really isn’t a perfect response. I’m excited about everything I’ve gone through and the funny stories that I have, so they naturally come up in conversation and will likely continue to. But if one thing’s for sure, I never want to come off as bragging about the places I traveled to or the different things I was fortunate enough to experience…it’s just not who I am. It feels weird. These kinds of posts are partly for family, for friends, and for myself to look back on – so it’s probably the only place I’ll explain everything in such detail!
Just as I first started this blog series, if someone told me at the start of my college career that I’d experience all that I have, I probably would have laughed (I seem to do a lot of laughing when I look back on life). I’ve laughed and cried and had a roller coaster of emotions more times abroad than I can count! The people I’ve met, places I’ve been, and memories I’ve made will be with me forever. I’ve grown more than I could have ever imagined. I’ve made new friends around the country and the world – and that in itself could be a-whole-nother post. I’m going to miss them like crazy! We’ve all experienced something so special together and it’s never going to happen again. We’ll never all be in the same place at the same time again. It’s awful and wonderful at the same time. Bittersweet.
I’m in awe of all that has happened this semester! It’s really crazy! I’ll miss my roommates – as my mom used to say to me, “I don’t always like you, but I will always love you!” It’s true! You’ve crawled under my skin at times but we’re closer than ever (shoutout to Pstrossova 21). As for Prague – I’ll miss the red roofs, the incredible food, and the scenic views. I’ll miss the long nights that turned into mornings and friends that turned into family (lol @ the basic quote). Prague will always have my heart, but I’m glad to be back home. I’ve missed the ocean, my people, my home.
So here’s to never forgetting the person I was abroad, and the person I’ve become because of it. To personal growth that ensued in a land far away, and…
To new adventures –