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I have been back in the US for as long as I’ve been gone, and one month more. How is it possible that the time has passed by with no warning? I spent one quarter of this year in other cultures surrounding myself with incredible people who had an appetite for travel, adventure, and wanderlust.
In retrospect, I was excited to come home in May. I was ready to see my family, friends, pets, and home. The summer months were as routine as all other summers —work, events, family reunions, and adventure, but as summer faded into fall, I began to reminisce with a heavy heart.
Thinking about my time abroad makes me wish I could have one more day. I often find myself looking at pictures that were captured with pure innocence and some with humorous intent. I try to re-live those moments in my mind and sometimes I can but other times I find myself feeling like it never happened — like this grand expedition, this life-changing journey, and this self-empowering experience never existed. It was all just some vivid dream and the stories are just memories tucked away in the treasure chest of my brain.
It was not until right about now that I realized what a blessing study abroad was. I lived a whole other life that no family member or friend can truly understand. I went through the process of culture shock, I navigated the unfamiliar, I used intercultural communication, I was exposed to several countries in a short amount of time, and I developed a routine and life that only I can remember. It has been difficult expressing my time abroad to others as they were not there to experience it in the way I did. As much as they want to or think they comprehend your every memory and story, it is impossible.
With all of this in mind and on the contrary, these feelings are one of a kind. I have been trying to see it as a positive thing — people cannot fathom my journey to full capacity but that is just fate. Not the kind of fate that brings people together or prevents tragedy, but the kind of fate that was designed to be a result. The result of study abroad is a melting pot of emotions, memories, and personal development. Those are things people feel and feelings go beyond what anyone else can understand. And that… that is perfectly okay.
Study abroad is incredible to say the least. I feel things and perceive things in ways that I couldn’t if I had not made the choice to study abroad. Looking back, I see how far I have come. Every part of me has been sculpted and transformed.
I suppose this is my way of saying get out there and see this world while you can. I used to think seeing the world meant seeing the physicality of different regions of the planet, but it is far more than that. It is seeing, feeling, experiencing, being, and falling. Go fall in love with Earth. I promise you it is a real thing and I cannot wait to go leave more pieces of my heart in this world.