One of the many things I learned being abroad for a semester is that, time is not always a measure of genuine relationships, both to people and to places. You can know someone for years and still feel some level of detachment in your relationship, but certain people and places can feel like home in a matter of a few months. That’s how I felt being in Amsterdam, and I’m sure I don’t stand alone with this feeling. At the risk of sounding cliché, I want to say that studying abroad is a life-changing experience, or at least it was for me. The friendships I made during these short few months became tighter than most friendships I formed in the relatively many years of my life. Now, how do you say goodbye to these people and accept the fact that you won’t be seeing them as often anymore, without getting emotional?
The answer is that you can’t say goodbye without getting emotional. The day before everyone left, we had a beautiful moment of bittersweet adieus, where we expressed our gratefulness to have met everyone and made amazing memories together, but also expressed our sadness because it was ending and we would never live this experience again. The one thing about studying abroad that I think is a bit tough to deal with is that, so many big changes are happening in such a short amount of time. I think about the day I was flying to Amsterdam and how overwhelming it felt, moving to a whole new continent not knowing anyone, and then fast forward just four months later and that significant chapter of my life was already ending. It’s such a whirlwind of emotions that you honestly don’t know which one you feel more strongly, the happiness of having lived this experience, the stress of moving back and forth or the sadness of goodbyes.
I tried to stay grounded while facing all these conflicting feelings and held on to the truth that no matter how many memories you make with however many people, there are only a select few that will actually remain in close contact in your life, and those are the people that help you keep those beautiful memories intact. I must admit I’m hardly adept at maintaining communication online, but I did promise myself this time that I would try harder because it felt important to stay in touch with some people I met in this program. My advice to future students studying abroad is to also not let the connections you make in this program fade away. The experience and exposure that you get from studying abroad sticks with you for life and I know this as an international student who has been studying in the U.S. for the past almost three years. The people and experiences I’ve come across in these past three years have shaped me more than ever and I know that this semester abroad is also going to contribute to that greatly in the best way possible, and for that I will always be grateful.
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<p>I am an international student from Kathmandu, a small city in Nepal, currently pursuing my Bachelor's degree at DePauw University in Indiana. I'm majoring in Neuroscience and have a keen interest in psychology. There are a few things that I enjoy doing in my free time, like singing, trying out new recipes, reading, etc. I have fostered a lot of cats back at home in Nepal so yes I'm a cat lady, but I absolutely love dogs as well. I'm mostly an introvert but if you come talk to me I promise I won't be awkward, I do enjoy having conversations with people and learning new perspectives.</p>