After 5 months abroad, I have finally returned home. School ended about two and a half weeks ago and I have been in the U.S. for a week. The last few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind of activity and emotions.
Saying good bye to the friends I made over my semester was terribly difficult, but with technology we hope to stay in contact. One even lives only a couple of hours away!
I was able to stop on my way home in Brussels, Belgium for a long weekend to meet with a friend. It felt like a world away, but was a much needed holiday after school. The weather there was sometimes as much as 50 degrees cooler than Dubai was at the same time. I was really cold most of the time I was there, and was very bummed when my luggage was lost and I didn’t have any cold weather clothes. Having the opportunity to meet with someone else who had just completed their study abroad experience in the city they called home for the last few months was really cool. We got to share and compare experiences and talk about how we had changed as people and our outlooks on life.
But, I have to say it is relaxing to be home again. Home is comfortable and welcoming, but now I definitely know that the rest of the world is only a plane ticket or a car trip away, and I can’t wait to see more.
I don’t want to make my experience sound like the perfect vacation. I did have homesickness and depression at times, and they definitely effected my experience at time. It was very tough to watch things happen at home and know that there was little you could to help friends or enjoy the experience with them. The last couple weeks were particularly tough, as I was very much looking forward to being back home, but school was in the way.
Study abroad helped me grow as a person in ways that I may not be able to notice yet, but the experiences I have will be with me forever. This experience will be something I am happy that I took part of for a long time, but I know there will be times that I second guess my decision.
Study Abroad is a great opportunity to test yourself, and see your boundaries and surpass them. You will be put in many uncomfortable situations and will learn more about yourself and the people who are close to you while you share the experience. It may help you realize how enjoyable your life is and how much you enjoy your life at home. Or it could open your eyes to how much more the world has to offer. Hopefully, it will provide both.
As my last message I would like to share something a friend told me about his experience and a thought I share, “I loved my experience, but at the end if someone offered me a free week instead of going home, I would turn them down.”