Well, I’ve been back in the United States for almost 2 weeks now, and it’s beginning to sink in that I won’t be going back “home” to Mendoza again for a while. My experience abroad was indescribably beautiful, and it’s very weird to that that it’s over now. It feels like just a few weeks ago I was packing my suitcases and getting ready to embark on this journey- it really went by so fast. I’ve felt twinges of sadness being back, and it’s been hard at times to accept that my life I had before has to continue again, almost as if I had never left. But I know that I’ve come back as a different person, and I am so blessed to have been able to have a life-changing experience such as this one.
I was able to stop back at Luther for a few days to visit some friends, and I found it was very helpful to process my experience by telling my friends about it. I found myself quoting my host mom, Alicia, quite a bit: she always said that, when we go away from home, we are changed profoundly, but we aren’t always aware of it. We learn and experience so many different things that we don’t always know how we’ve changed until we come across a situation in which we are forced to use our newfound knowledge and skills. This concept still amazes me, and it’s definitely one of the things that’s stuck with me the most from the time I spent with Alicia. I know that my 6 months abroad will have a lifelong impact on me, and I’m fairly certain that I will continue to realize ways in which I’ve changed for many years to come. One thing I’ve noticed right away, though, is a huge boost in confidence. The fact that I was able to go to a foreign country, almost by myself at first, and not only survive but really thrive and have a great time, is something I’m pretty proud of. I realized how much my many years of studying Spanish have paid off, and I feel very comfortable now using the language with anyone I meet. I guess I wasn’t really aware of this while I was in school, but all my time studying Spanish was really building up to the moment I went abroad, and it was pretty cool to reap the rewards of all of my hard work. I also realized that I’m better at adapting to situations than I previously thought. I was able to come into a completely new and completely different environment, and although I did experience culture shock and some difficult times, I was able to adapt to my situation and make it the “new normal”. This realization has also made me more confident, and I know I’ll be able to keep this in mind when tackling other difficult situations.
The last thing I want to say in this final post is how thankful I am for the amazing hosts I’ve had throughout these six months. I’ve changed the most because of my interactions and conversations with them, both with my wonderful host family in Córdoba and with my amazing host mom in Mendoza. They have taught me so many things, through both words and actions, and I can’t thank them enough for being the incredible people they are. I know my experience would have been drastically different if they hadn’t been part of it, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to get to know them and “convivir” with them for some time. I know that I’ll be back to Argentina at some point in my life, if only to visit these people- that would be reason enough for me to go back! I feel like I’ve been cheesy and sentimental enough with this post, but I wanted to say one last thing; whether you’ve been reading every post or whether this is your first, I want to thank you all for reading my blog (or maybe I should say, putting up with it ) throughout the semester. I know many of you are friends and family, and I wanted to thank you for the continued support you’ve given me. Anyway, that’s probably enough where that came from. I’m sure this won’t be my last experience traveling, and I guess I’ll have to start another blog when I’m away, since this one was so popular 😉
All the best,