As my time abroad is rapidly coming to an end, I’m having a hard time grasping how quickly it went by! Although I can’t deny that I’m so looking forward to being back on campus in the Spring…a part of me never wants to leave this place. In my opinion, one semester abroad is no enough to get a full grasp on anything. You travel to new cities and countries every weekend, but only get a small taste of what life is like there. It’s unfortunate that you can’t immerse yourself in every culture you visit – but that’s just another reason to return!
Being away from my family and from Trinity has given me some valuable perspective on life. I don’t want to claim myself to be incredibly cultured or an avid world traveler; I was only in Europe for four months and visited 8 countries. However, the small things that I picked up along the way – in my opinion – are priceless. The way other cultures welcomed you into theirs as an honored guest with warmth and kindness will stay with me forever. Also, traveling alone made me realize that I am (and am not) as direction impaired as I thought I was. Traveling with a group of friends can make the experience so much fun, and you will have a collection of memories that you will hold onto forever. However, after getting over my fear of traveling solo, I realized how much more I got to learn about myself and the place I was visiting!
If I had to offer some advice for future abroad-goers, some of my top sentiments would be:
- Travel as much as you can. I’m not saying you have to have every single weekend booked solid for the entire semester, but travel as much as possible! Everyone’s budget is different, but passing up the opportunity to visit at least a couple different cities while abroad will be a regret you have for the rest of your college career. However, don’t forget to explore the city you’re studying in as well! Many times students spend so much time in other countries that they don’t know anything about the place they’ve been living in for an entire semester.
- Bring a friend. If you are lucky enough to find someone in your program or in your classes that has similar interests or traveling goals as you, then make plans to travel with them! Large groups are fun but can be difficult to manage if you’re traveling a lot. Sometime when it’s just a pair of people, you can fit in more sites and things on your to-do list.
- Take photos. Investing in a small camera before you go abroad might be the best investment you make all year. Your phone is definitely a great tool too – especially for keeping your snapchat fans updated on your adventures! Either way, you’re going to be so proud of the collection of photos you’ve accumulated by the end of your time abroad.
Like I said, I’m not a world traveler or anything, but I can definitely say I’ve conquered my fear of flying! As the idea of leaving next week looms over my head, I’m so sad that I don’t have more time here. More time to explore, to talk, to learn, to travel, and to discover.
If you have to opportunity to go abroad while at Trinity, I urge you to take it. It will change your life!