My Last Few Weeks Abroad

Willa Thomas headshot
Willa Thomas
December 4, 2023
Photo of some apartments in Siena

I am currently sitting on a train on my way home from my last weekend trip this semester. We only have two weekends until we leave and I’m having a lot of mixed emotions. One part of my brain is dreading having to back everything up and say goodbye to this life I have built in Europe. The other part of me is weirdly ready to go home. I feel like this is something you don’t hear a lot of people talk about. From all of my friends who had been abroad before me, I heard the same story: “It was the best three months of my life, I was dreading going home, etc”. While these are sentiments I also share, part of me is missing the routine of being back in the U.S. That being said, here’s how I plan to spend my last 2.5 weeks abroad:

  1. Spend time in my “home” city:

For my last 2 weekends, I don’t have any more overnight trips planned. This was on purpose to give me some time to appreciate the place I have been living for the last three months. I have loved getting to travel everywhere and that is an experience I am so thankful to have. But when I look back on studying abroad I want to be able to share the experience of living somewhere completely different. So for my last 2 weekends, I am staying home. I'm heading to all of my favorite stores, restaurants, and coffee shops. Taking in the beautiful sights and sounds of the city I have been so lucky to call home this semester. Catching up on my journaling from events that have happened recently. And just taking a minute to reflect on how amazing this experience has been. It sounds cheesy but it’s true. I know I’m going to be sad to leave this amazing place so I want to focus on making memories within the town of Siena.

2. Trying new things:

While I might not be taking any more trips, that doesn’t mean I won’t be having any more new experiences. I’ve decided I want to live my last few weeks abroad just like my first few weeks. The first few weeks we were here, everything felt like a movie. I remember being in awe of every detail of my day. The smallest moments, like the view from my bedroom window, filled me with joy and excitement. Now, after three months of living here, those moments have become a bit more normal. I think I have gotten so used to them that I don’t appreciate them as much. So, for the next 2.5 weeks, I am going to try and bring a little more of that wonder and excitement back. Taking walks around my city every day, trying new cafes, looking for new stores, and making new friends!

3. Christmas shopping:

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how nice it will be to be surrounded by friends and family I haven’t gotten to see much this holiday season. This made me excited to buy everyone Christmas presents. I think this will be a nice way to share my experiences abroad with everyone at home. Throughout the semester, I have been trying to buy little things that remind me of my friends and family back home. I’ve collected quite the haul but there are still a few more people I need to shop for and it truly is perfect timing because all of the Christmas markets are starting to open! A lot of my time and energy over the next few weeks will be dedicated to exploring all of the markets around me and grabbing a few more gifts for my loved ones (plus maybe a few things for me).

So, there you have it, a few ways I am soaking in my last few weeks abroad. I’m trying to strike the balance between being excited to go home for Christmas and being sad to leave this beautiful place I have learned to call home. It’s a weird feeling, counting down the days but also wishing you could stop time and stay forever. Regardless, I am so thankful for the experiences and life lessons I have learned here. And it’s not over yet so I am soaking in every last second!

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Willa Thomas headshot

Willa Thomas

My name is Willa Thomas and I am originally from San Diego, CA. I am a biology major on the pre-nursing track but chose to study business and economics while abroad to learn something new and broaden my horizons!

2023 Fall
Home University:
Wofford College
Biological Sciences
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