There have been many times over the past two weeks where I have sat down to write one last post, but each time it has gotten more difficult. I’ve been asked countless times upon arriving home, “How was your trip?”, “How was Germany?”, “What was your favorite part?”. My immediate reaction is to correct the person asking me how my “trip” was, because it wasn’t a “trip”, it was much more than that. I was immersed into the German culture, challenged to speak the language and learn the ways of my German peers. All I can really say is “my semester was great!” and maybe a few more sentences about classes and traveling, but soon the interest fades and all the stories I’ve been dying to tell people are swept under the rug. I’m lucky in that many of my friends have spent a semester abroad, so they know to some extent that feeling of “reverse culture shock” that I’m currently experiencing.
During my semester in Rome, I saw myself gradually changing. I felt more independent and self-assured. I recognized the huge strides I made in my personal growth, something I didn’t quite recognize while in Berlin. It wasn’t until I returned home that I recognized how much I had changed; however everything around me had remained the same. I became so comfortable with living in Berlin, that I imagined what life would be like if I decided to live there permanently. I loved the size of the city, the public transformation, the affordability and the culture. You could never possibly be bored in a city like Berlin! When applying to do a second semester abroad, a German program never crossed my mind. However, now that I’ve had the opportunity to live and study in two German cities, I have fallen in love. I’ve come to love German and the opportunities I’ve had by knowing even a little bit. I’ve met so many wonderful people from around the world that I have formed life-long relationships with. I went abroad for a second time because I believed I wasn’t done “figuring out who I am” as cliché as that may sound. As I begin my last semester of my undergraduate career, I am confident in the person that I want to be moving forward. While I may be uncertain about my future after graduation, I know my experiences abroad and my time at HWS have equipped me with the tools to figure out the next chapter in my life.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi, my name is Andie D'Agostino. I am a senior at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. I am an Architectural Studies major with a minor in Sociology. After graduation, I hope to pursue a career in urban planning and community development.</span></p>