June 2, 2017
I figured that it probably wouldn't be a terrible idea to reflect on the semester. I've seen a lot in just four months, and I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to do so. I've traveled from the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea, to the peaks of mountains in Switzerland. I've visited the oldest city in the world, Jericho, and I've seen cities that are practically entirely new since they were entirely destroyed in WWII. I've seen poverty and I've seen wealth. I've seen countries of no racial diversity (looking at you Poland) and I've seen countries that are melting pots of diversity where people are brought together by the smallest things they have in common. I've met strangers, made friends, and have (at least) tried to keep in-touch with friends from home.
I've lived in the United States for the entirety of my life (aside from the past 4 months now). Traveling abroad was not a luxury that my family could afford while growing up, and even today I'm the first (and only) person in my family to hold a passport. Even then, I suppose seeing the world has never been a priority in my family's eyes. At one point before leaving my mother jokingly considered the idea of visiting me in Europe during the semester and bringing along my sisters, and while my older sister was gung-ho, my younger sister told her that she didn't even want to leave the States. What. The. Heck.
It's hard to realize without leaving just how much history, life, culture, and interests differ from our own, and it's easy to believe while you're in the States that it's the only place you ever need to visit your entire life. Not traveling is comfortable...it's cheap...it's easy...but it's rejecting so many experiences and outside perspectives that could enrich your own. To anyone looking to study abroad, I highly recommend. It doesn't matter where, honestly...just go somewhere else, live life, talk to people, see new things, and come back ready to share new ideas and try new things that you wouldn't have thought to have done previously.
Too old to study abroad? Eh, whatever. Still go abroad. You don't have to spend a ton of money—heck, you don't have to go far...Canada and Mexico can offer new experiences—but it's important to see how others live and perceive the world.
I've been refreshed this semester. School wasn't too tough and I spent the semester making friends, learning new things, and, as cliche and cheesy as it sounds, rediscovering myself. I have a newfound zest for adventure and a heightened sense of independence that I'm confident will take me all over the globe and keep me traveling until I'm physically incapable of traveling anymore.
Now, I'm off to my next big adventure in Atlanta, Georgia for the summer before finally finishing up my last year of college. Damn. Time flies.
Keep in contact.