Goodbyes are never easy—especially when you bid farewell to the place where you called home for the past few months.
I’ve only been home in the U.S. for a few days since I’ve left London, and have already managed to have a decent amount of time to reflect on my abroad journey. To me, the end of my study abroad signifies so much more than just leaving London. After this semester, I have completed my undergrad requirements and am officially a college graduate. After the absolute insanity we all have experienced over the past two years of the pandemic, I am even more grateful that I got to have this experience.
This abroad experience was so important not only for myself, but for my peers as well. We had just about the most unconventional college experience that you can get. For my class, freshman year was the only “normal” full school year that we had. Many of us had our study abroad plans rescheduled, postponed, and even canceled. This experience was not just a fun escapade in the middle of our college careers, but finally a time to gain an experience which we all so desperately needed, but also deserved. Studying in London was the first time I returned to a classroom setting since the beginning of 2020—the first time I got to physically see my professors, interact, and feel the energy of my peers. Although I cannot deny that I feel robbed of a “traditional college experience” as a result of the pandemic, I truly believe that it allowed me to fully embrace everything study abroad had to offer, and not take a single day for granted.
Post-London, I am officially a college graduate, and am soaking in my time with loved ones back in the States before I embark on my next journey post-grad. My time in London was truly the best, most rewarding of my life thus far. The memories I will hold dearly, and the lessons will be used in my future endeavors. Thanks for following along with me on such an unforgettable journey. Cheers!
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<p>Zoe Rodriguez-Willie is a senior at California Lutheran University, majoring in Communications with a minor in Sports Management. She is a Southern California native who is a connoisseur of European soccer and a major proponent of women’s sports. When she is not cheering on Barcelona or the USWNT, you may find her at Disneyland, the beach, or with her cat, Willow.</p>