One of the main reasons I chose to study abroad is that I have this great thirst for adventure. My bedroom walls are filled with maps, flags, photos, and quotes reminding me of my love for travel. But lately, I haven't been feeling as adventurous as I expect myself to be.
In the past month I've done a weekend trip to Hamburg, a weekend trip to visit my friend in the region of Hessen, and taken class field trips to Poland and Potsdam. These trips have been incredibly exciting and rewarding, but they come at a price: seeing what wonderful undertakings lie right around the corner makes me want to leave Berlin.
Right off the bat I should state that I love Berlin, and nothing has changed in that regard. The only thing that has changed is that I've become a bit too accustomed to it and no longer feel a pull to experience something new in the city.
After discussing it with a friend of mine who has been experiencing the same feeling, we decided that we've both fallen into the study-abroad slump. The glitter has finally started to fade, and I've been craving either something new or something comfortable, neither of which necessarily describes my state here in Berlin. The best way I can think of to describe it is with the following spectrum:
My feelings currently lie on the direct ends of the spectrum. I waiver between missing home and wanting to drop everything and travel throughout Germany and eastern Europe. Unfortunately, that means my lovely Berlin, which I am used to despite the fact that there's so many more things to experience, sits in the middle of the spectrum where I currently do not want to be.
I'm not sure what it is about being in a foreign city for four months, but I'm experiencing feelings I've never had before. I'v only been homesick a handful of times in my life, and it only happened when I was younger or when I was sick. Wanderlust has been a constant presence in my life, but I've lost my eagerness to find new adventures in Berlin. I seek out the cafés and coffee shops that I've already been to and strive for a feeling of comfort, forsaking the number of the intriguing cafés I've seen online but haven't yet explored.
The voice in my head keeps telling me that I still have time to explore and will get to it eventually, but that's a dangerous wager. Less than two months stand between me and going home to the United States, so while the timeline isn't exactly pressing, it does have an end.
Maybe by recognizing that my time here in Berlin is finite will help me appreciate it more. Maybe by numbering my days I'll discover how precious each one of them is.
But maybe it's not as deep as that. Maybe the slump doesn't have as much to do with studying abroad as it does with the current state of the semester.
In other words, it might just be finals.
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<p>My name is Ali, and I'm a Political Economy major at the University of Southern California (Trojans!). Ever since I was a little kid and found out that there was such a thing as "study abroad", I dreamed about doing it. I'd stare at the famous Midwestern cornfields and wonder what it would take to go see the world. I loved the idea of picking up and leaving everything, even if it was only for a short while. Now, I'm living the dream and studying abroad in Berlin, Germany.</p>