My grand adventure officially came to an end just over a week ago and I am back home in Northern California reflecting on everything I just experienced. The more I think back on this trip, the more I realize how much I grew in just four weeks thanks to study abroad. Aside from being an amazing time to see more of the world, it was time to challenge myself and break down anxiety.
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 decided to take a journey across the world five months ago, the first thing I was warned about was homesickness. “The first week will be the hardest,” they said. “You’ll miss every little thing about home, especially the things you wouldn’t expect.” Professors, fellow students, family and friends reiterated this more times than I can count. They made the first week sound absolutely treacherous.
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.
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.
I’m about halfway through my study abroad experience and already I have learned a lot from my time in Spain, especially when it comes to my lifestyle and health. Before leaving for Spain I think I had a well balanced life, giving work, school and my health equal attention. I knew studying abroad would change my lifestyle, but I was determined to stay healthy and continue my balanced life.
I am known to be a loud and very smiley extrovert who loves to always see the positive side of things and make the best out of life for others and myself. I am Mexican-Iranian-American in America, but here in China, I am American. But that does not mean I forget who I truly am and what my heritage is while I study in Shanghai, China.
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.
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.