“It’s 1:27 pm. I cannot believe this day is here, considering all I’ve experienced and how far I’ve come since August 02. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that this experience is over– I’ve taken so much from it, yet I feel like there is still more to learn, see and feel.” This is how my last journal entry from Ecuador begins. Now that I’ve been home for two days, things are slowly feeling normal again, although I’m struggling with holding onto my time and experiences in Ecuador while also enjoying my vacation time at home with family and friends. It’s different than coming home from a semester back at school; I feel like I’ve gained a lot more than I could ever gain from a semester or even a year at school. I have learned to overcome challenges, I’ve expanded my views and opinions, developed and nurtured relationships, stepped outside of my comfort zone, gained independence as well as an awareness of what is really important to me. It’s difficult to think about the fact that these 4.5 months of IES, Ecuadorian friends and family, independent traveling and all things Quito have come to an end, and that there will never be a time again that will feel the same as it has since August. From here though, I must change my perspective and think about it the other way around: my life from now and forward will not be the same because of everything I have experienced in Ecuador. Every person I met, every place I visited and every feeling I felt has impacted me. Even though my semester abroad is over, everything that impacted me will stay with me forever. A change in perspective is all I need to effectively sort out this transition of living abroad to living back at home and at school. And, of course, the fact that I know I will be back to visit Ecuador someday.
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<div><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);">My name is Alexandra Kohn and I am a junior at Bryn Mawr College. I am a psychology major with minors in child and family studies and Spanish. Outside of academics, I enjoy making art and spending time outside. I am particularly passionate about traveling and I am very excited to spend this semester in Ecuador!</span></div>