One week ago, I landed at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky airport to spend a few weeks at my family home before returning to Indiana University for the fall semester. I have spent my time home reflecting on my experiences, sharing countless stories with my parents, and racking my brain on what to write as my final update for my IES Abroad blog. I decided to finally answer the question I was asked the most, why did I study abroad?
The answer is pretty simple, I suppose. I wanted to do something. I wanted to go to a new city where I knew practically no one and figure it out. I wanted to take a leap of faith that I knew would challenge me in ways that nothing else could. I wanted to experience the world outside of the small, but lovely town of Bloomington, Indiana. As tacky as it sounds, I wanted an adventure. In the weeks leading up to my departure from the U.S., I had moments filled with panic. There were times when I couldn’t believe what I had decided to do. Some nights, I would be awake until early hours of the morning going over my very quick decision to go abroad and questioning why I hadn’t spent more time considering my options. Here’s the real tea: uprooting your life and going to another country for a few months is scary. No study abroad student is immune to how intimidating it can be. It takes a leap of faith to choose to spend months abroad. Through the process of getting my immigration paperwork sorted, my tagline became, “I’m just rolling with it”. If you ask any close family or friends before I left, I’m sure they would all tell you how often I had to remind myself to go with the flow. In studying abroad, things don’t always go the way you picture and the ability to “go with it” makes the predeparture time less stressful.
So here we are, one week after my return to the States, and I can tell you that it is so worth it. What kept me going through the nights of fear and moments of stress was knowing that I was going to have the experience of a lifetime. I knew that once I was there, that I wouldn’t remember what was making me scared in the first place. On my flight home, I cried. I was sitting next to an 8-year-old boy, and I shed actual tears. I was sad thinking of all the friends I had to leave and how grateful I was to have experienced all that London and IES Abroad had to offer. I couldn’t help but smile as I thought back to how fearful I was before I left and how silly it seemed at the end of my time abroad. I have enough memories to last a lifetime, and I am beyond thankful for the people I get to share them with. I know that my summer in London is something I will be telling my kids and grandkids about someday.
If you’re reading this and considering spending time abroad, let me make it simple for you. Go. I know there is fear, and I know there is stress, but there is nothing that could replace what I have been given this summer. Do things that scare you. Take leaps of faith. It’s the best way to live.