Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

A Quick Turn Around! (Pre-Departure)

This summer I have had incredible opportunities to experience the world. Being a Texas native, the idea of traveling could simply mean taking a 6-9 hour road trip to another city in our state, like venturing to the beach at South Padre Island or to the mountains of El Paso. This summer I spent way more than 9 hours traveling.

I’ve left hours and hours of my life in airports, on airplanes, train stations and taxis. In June, I participated in a month long study abroad program with fifty other University of Texas students in Beijing, China. During this program we also visited, Shanghai, Cuan Di Xia Village, and stayed overnight on the Great Wall of China. After that, for two weeks in July, I was in Uzbekistan visiting a dear friend and mentor of mine. I got to travel to Tashkent and Samarkand and physically see ancient history in front of me as I witnessed the largest Koran ever made in the 12th century on deer skin paper and an ancient astronomical observatory carved out of the ground.

After a grueling spring semester, the joy I got while traveling became the fruit of all of my labor. However, these experiences did not lend themselves well to rest and relaxation. I have only been back in the great state of Texas for a mere four weeks and three days – which is split time between my hometown of Houston and my apartment in Austin. It’s been a world wind: one week in Houston. Two weeks in Austin. Taking my nephew to visit UT and go kayaking in Austin. Move out of my apartment and move back to Houston.

Between visiting with friends, salsa dancing, and binge watching the Disney TV show “Jessie” with my four nieces and nephews, I can say that this trip to Merida, Mexico seems like a quick turn around. I truly loved my time abroad and traveling but my heart still wants to be here with my family. To see my oldest nephew enter middle school and my youngest nephew finally crawl across the living room.

Homesickness or longing for home is a very new feeling for me. Since I was a kid I’ve always wanted to travel and leave home to go to college. Once I got to UT Fall of 2012, I adapted to Austin quickly and loved the university life. I excelled in my classes and loved talking to my professors. It was a chore to go back to Houston since UT and Austin was becoming my home. I usually kept my trips home short – I’m ready to go back to Austin within a few days. Since after my freshman year, I’ve spent each summer in Austin working and volunteering.

For the first time, I’m not ready to leave. If I haven’t gotten tired of my family after 2 weeks of being home, something seems off balance here. Hahah My family is very supportive of me studying abroad – mostly because they know I’ll be brining back souvenirs again. I’m just glad I’ll be in the same time zone and my flight will only last two hours! I’m very excited to live abroad for these next four months. I can’t wait to meet my host family and immerse myself in Merida. I only hope that the last Spanish class I took a year and a half ago comes back quickly!!!

-M3

Megan Marie Maldonado

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