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 have been collecting post cards from every city I’ve visited over the past few months. Some of them feature photos of a destination’s most famous attractions, while others simply state “Greetings from…”. Although I haven’t been able to send each of my loved ones a card from all the places I’ve been fortunate enough to see, I look forward to compiling an album of these cards once I’m back in California with a list of some of my favorite memories on the backs.
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 most pleasant surprises I got from the University of Mannheim is that students do not get one but two weeks of spring break! Once I heard that I was beyond excited because that meant I didn’t have to limit myself to one week of travel.
Since arriving in this country over seven months ago, I’ve grown accustomed to most aspects of British life: rainy weather, two-pence coins and non-refrigerated eggs in the grocery stores, to name a few. But as my time in England nears its end, I’ve started to reflect on things that I hope to remember above others, whether it be for significant, sentimental or just plain funny reasons.
Ask anyone what comes to mind when they think of Germany, and their response will likely be “lederhosen,” “pretzels” or “beer.” These three concepts have a pretty specific tie to Bavaria’s Oktoberfest, and Germans from just about every other state would be the first to correct you. However, beer in Germany has a long and exciting history, and has evolved into its own culture-within-the-culture.
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.
I walked along the Lido Beach, the sun kissing my skin and leaving its red lipstick all over my white body. It’s almost comforting being sunburned — all that means to me is I spent much-needed time in the sun.
These posts should be about my new experiences. My travels, the friends I have made, the awesome things I have done and the overall culturally enriching experience of study abroad. I could take this opportunity to share the great things in my life right now, which are more than at maybe any point in my 20 years of life. And I will eventually.