Two weeks ago, I got on a plane in Lisbon for my journey back home to Oceanside. My time in Portugal was short and went by so fast, yet we did so much in such a short period of time. It was like a double-edged-sword, I was sad to leave yet happy to get home to my family.
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.
Looking back on four weeks in Finland, I can confidently say that studying abroad was one of the best decisions of not only my college career, but my life. I explored places I never expected to see, I took classes that just aren’t offered anywhere else, I met new friends from both SDSU and around the world, and I had the time of my life. So, why were there so many tears the last week?
When I got the email declaring that I will be studying abroad at the University of Mannheim in Germany, I was beyond excited! However, from the point where I learned that I will be coming to Germany to the day I boarded the flight, it still didn’t seem real to me.
After the Chinese New Year, my cousin and I had planned to travel to Taiwan. It was so cool to know that traveling in Asia, while in Asia, is extremely cheap and is a must if you’re planning to stay for a long period of time. This was the first time I’ve traveled without older adults in a foreign place. At least by now I am a pro at packing.
In Thailand, the year is 2560. Although it technically is the same year here as anywhere else in the world, because Thais go by the Buddhist calendar, everyone refers to this year as 2560. The planners, calendars and online websites all declare boldly that it is now the year 2560. Odd? No. In every way this actually seems to make sense.
Having been in England for about six weeks now, I’ve tried to visit as many places as I could while spending the least amount of money. Fortunately for myself and other fellow students, traveling around Kent is quite cheap and usually easily accessible by bus. The following places were all perfect for a day trip, especially when the weather was cooperative.
I am where I am supposed to be. After months of overwhelming stress and endless tears, I am where I am supposed to be.
It has been two weeks since I’ve officially begun my study abroad exchange in Europe. When asked by friends and family “how is it, Kels?,” the only reply I can muster up is “completely surreal.” I’ll be living in the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands for one entire academic year and this tiny portion in the beginning has already been a wild ride.