Study abroad is over…
I wanted to make sure I did everything I wanted to before I left, but I also had to make sure I wrote two term papers and studied for two finals. Every day for lunch was spent at a new place (I mostly ate schnitzel…. because what else is there in Germany!?), I walked around the Münster for the last time, and I even spent my last night in Germany at Club Kagan, which is located on the 17th and 18th floors of a really tall building near the train station. On Friday, Michelle and I even made a quick last minute trip to Lake Titisee to grab some awesome souvenirs and say goodbye to one of our favorite places.
Leaving was bittersweet. Michelle hopped on the taxi with me to the train station and we waited for my 9:58pm train to arrive. A part of me couldn’t believe it was really over. Eight weeks gone in the blink of an eye.
In eight weeks, I’d been through a lot, seen a lot, and learned a lot.
I went through a crazy bout of homesickness, recovered from an injured ankle, found out I needed glasses from a German optometrist, and built up some crazy leg muscles from all that bike riding. Physically and emotionally, this summer tested me. It tested my patience, my intelligence, my strength, and my weaknesses. I had to challenge myself to learn to be around people who I may have otherwise not have chosen to be around and I learned how to cope with issues I don’t normally face.
I’d seen four countries, at least eight cities, and a lot of people. I’d seen what poverty looks like in a developing country, children with no shoes and mothers nursing their sick children on the ground outside of a metro station. But I also saw life. I saw dancing and music and laughter.
As far as my education goes, I feel more than enlightened about the politics in both the Balkans and Turkey. It’s only been a day since I left Freiburg, but I’ve already had a discussion with a professor (who I met through my aunt’s old professor) regarding the issues talked about in the classroom. And I’m passionate about it all. I have my own opinions and I’m not afraid to share them, but I’m also not afraid to listen.
This summer has taught me about a world much bigger than I could have ever imagined and while it may not have been everything I wanted, it was everything I needed.
This isn’t goodbye to Freiburg or Turkey or Europe. While I may never go back to some of the places I visited, I will always remember this is where it started. This is where the doors to the world were opened and where I learned that this life is way too short to stay in one place.
“Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you’ve traveled.”
More Blogs From This Author
<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 Alzebeth Roman and I am currently a Senior at North Carolina State University in Raleigh studying Accounting with minors in International Studies and Political Science. This summer, I will be studying abroad in Freiburg, Germany learning about the politics of the EU and its' neighbors. This is only my second time traveling out of the United States and my first time in Europe. In my spare time, I love service, reading, swimming, dancing, napping, and writing which I plan to do in my free time while abroad!</span></div>