You are here

(ABroad)ening My Mind

April 19, 2017

It has taken me time since returning to the United States to really think on all of the experiences I have had over the last few months. In general, it has been a lot to take in. Going from a European country that slowly but surely became my home back to the life I had known before is a culture shock all of its own. I needed some time before trying to wrap up my feelings on it all.

Trying to reconcile the version of myself I was before going to London and the person I am now has been a strange experience. Back in my home state, I see reminders of the things I was doing and the thoughts I had before I left. I went back and read my first blog post yesterday, and it was strange to see that time capsule of myself. If only that Annie knew all that I know now, how truly excited she would be to embark on her adventure.

People are constantly evolving. I know some people like to say that people don’t change, that we’re always intrinsically the same, and for some few that may be true. But most people are shaped by things they do and people they know. There is so much going on in the world, I think it is nearly impossible to not be molded and be constantly re-molding oneself. In my life, I know I have already been several different versions of myself, and my time in London certainly shifted me again.

I’m not sure I’ve ever quite evolved so much in such a short amount of time. Going abroad can be terrifying– you’re suddenly thrown in a new environment, with totally new people, new everything. All of that new, though, undoubtedly changes a person. It makes you more easily able to shift into new scenarios, embrace other cultures, communicate with others, and those are just a few qualities I have picked up. Each person’s experience is completely unique.

After coming home, it has been hard to properly describe what being abroad has been like. In some ways, I think it can only be truly understood through an experience of it. I will say, though, that it is a time in my life I would never take back. It’s the sort of experience I would beg someone to take for their own sake. It is something I will look back on in the future with reverence and sentimentality.

Abroad has helped broaden my mind, but it has also helped me come into my own. I feel more confident in myself and my ability to navigate in this world. I feel more ready for the everything life has ahead of me because I know I can take it on. Studying in London was a once in a lifetime event, so special it now has its own little corner in my heart.

So, thank you abroad for helping to shape me into what I believe to be a stronger version of myself. Thank you for giving me so many wonderful people, joy-filled moments, and new knowledge. I will think fondly of you always.

Until next time, with all my love, Annie.

From Our Blogs

Jun 18 1:32pm

Haircuts and Fish Ice Cream

by Jake

Originally this post was just going to be about a haircut, but then I realized adding fish ice cream made for not only a better title, but also a more aesthetically pleasing cover photo. And so if I haven't confused you enough - allow me to explain my first month (yes... month!) in Madrid:

Learn more
Jun 18 10:06am

Chao, Chile

by Annie

It’s been a whirlwind since coming back from Chile — when you study abroad, it’s almost as if you’re in a little capsule far far away from the rest of the world. When you return, you realize life has been moving just as steadily without you and you must race to catch up.

Learn more
Jun 18 9:54am

A freezing cold summer

by Annie

Disclosure: this photo was taken during February, the peak of Chilean summer. It is now May, and oh yes. Winter is coming.

Learn more
Jun 18 7:08am

From fireworks to the Tube: how I made London my home

by Allison

There’s a common misconception that study abroad students are the thrill seeking, let’s-go-skydiving-just-because-we-can type people. I’m not really that type of person. I love traveling and seeing the world, but the idea of spending my summer in another country was intimidating.

Learn more
Jun 16 11:09am

What to Expect: Orientation

by Kiara

After a long flight and over 35 hours of being awake, I found myself in Berlin with nothing but my luggage and printed out directions. I was awake enough to figure out how to buy a ticket at the airport, but had failed to verify it––meaning I could have been fined 60 Euro!

Learn more
Jun 15 9:19am

What nine hours in a Turkish hospital taught me about kindness

by Emily

I take a labored breath in, and decided I’ve had my fill. The past week my throat had been constricting, tighter and tighter. Within the pasts two days, a deep weight settled on my chest. A strange, unknown type of pain that I couldn’t ignore. I needed to go to the hospital.

Learn more