Three hundred and thirty-six days: That is how much time I spent away from home this year. Well, that is how much time I spent away from my San Diego home. Eleven months: That is how much time I spent exploring the world. Seeing things I never dreamed of seeing. For years, I dreamed about how my time abroad would be. The anticipation killed me for so long. Now it is all over.
Though I am still in Europe, my time in France has come to an end. The semester ended two weeks ago, and I am finishing up my last bit of travels as I write this. It is now time to start thinking about transitioning back home after a full year abroad. Home feels so foreign now, and I have very mixed feelings about returning. I am almost more scared to return than I was to go abroad in the first place.
I hope this does not surprise anyone, but Europe is much colder than California. I witnessed this firsthand four months ago when I arrived in London. I had just flown into the coldest winter that I have ever experienced in my life.
One of the best aspects about studying abroad is traveling abroad. Being in an entirely different area of the world, you are given new opportunities to go places that you would never be able to go if you were back home. Obviously, the first questions that you will ask yourself are, “Where will I go and how long can I stay?” You must decide whether you will go to a large city such as Paris or a hidden gem such as Cologne, Germany. However, sometimes deciding who you will travel with is more important for the success of the trip.
Exploring new countries. Seeing new things that most people only dream of. Making new friends that last a lifetime. Making new memories that you will be telling for years. Study abroad is about new things. However, it is difficult when all you want is something familiar. During my two semesters abroad so far, I have had the time of my life, but it has not been easy.
When you think about study abroad, you think traveling, meeting new people and having the time of your life. This is all very true: I have made so many great friends and had life-altering experiences while abroad. But there are also those classes that I have had to attend, as well.
I had never spent a single New Years outside of California. At least not until 2017 rolled around. Since my program in Nantes, France began on January 3, I decided that it would be cheaper and more fun to spend some time with my friend in London before making my way to France. Did I mention that this is my first time in Europe?