Six months ago, my three-month stay in a country halfway around the world officially came to an end. Although the time went by quick, my semester abroad was an unforgettable, remarkable experience that has had enduring effects on my life and perspective.
Looking back, those twelve weeks seemed surreal at times. I had to keep reminding myself that I was in a foreign country, not in the United States, although the narrow roads, accents and rainy weather were constant reminders. The other realization came with the fact that I was living with people from all over the United States- and the world. Suddenly knowing people from at least 10 different states and countries is definitely not something that happens every day.
Starting the new semester at Bonaventure in January, I felt like my life had fast-forwarded in a way. After two years of being at Bonaventure for the full school year, I wasn’t accustomed to be moving into my dorm room and starting the “year” in 30-degree weather.The added challenge came with the returning workload of classes. I had the same class three times a week, as opposed to in England when most classes (modules) were once a week. However, spending time away had definitely improved my attitude toward school and college in general. (It’s a long story.) I began the new semester with an enthusiastic attitude and became more involved in activities around the campus.
Then, just like that, it was May and my junior year concluded. In the autumn, I’ll be starting my senior year at Bonaventure, then graduating in May of 2014. In other words, about 10 months from now. Exciting, yet a little daunting.
Over the past several months, there were (and still are) times that I miss(ed) Edge Hill University and England terribly. I grew close to the people I met over there, from the United States, England, Ireland, just to name a few of the countries and places. The twelve weeks literally slipped by in a sequence of classes, trips and nights out. I tried not to focus on whatever time I had left, but instead making the most of the time I had there.
In the meantime, I have been keeping in contact with people from there through the Internet and writing about my experience in a journal that I aspire to publish into a book one day. Traveling to Paris, Edinburgh, London and other locations gave me a myriad of experiences to write about. I already wrote an article about my semester for my school newspaper, found here http://www.thebvnewspaper.com/2013/01/31/bona-student-reflects-on-semester-abroad-in-england/
My hope and goal is by sharing these experiences with people, I can encourage others to pursue traveling as well. Everyone has that one place they have always dreamed of visiting. It definitely is worth the trip, especially in college, when there is the time and opportunity to embark on these journeys.
When I look back though, I can honestly say that deciding to study abroad was one of the best decisions I ever made. While the idea of going to an unfamiliar place where you don’t know anybody may seem scary to some, it appealed to me and I ended up loving it. Not only did I get to live in a foreign country, I traveled to places I never thought I would at such a young age and made friends with people I never thought I would meet. The notion of not knowing what was next was exhilarating.
Journeying abroad definitely altered my perspective of the world and life in general. There is a world out there, beyond my tiny little town in New York State, just waiting to be explored.