I got back to the US twelve days ago. Whenever I see someone for the first time since I’ve been back, they ask about my trip. For a few reasons, it’s hard to know exactly what to say to sum up the experience. Similarly, in writing this blog, I’m asked to reflect on how my time abroad impacted me, both in terms of my remaining time at Wofford and after graduation.
As I’ve said before in this blog, this past semester was my last at Wofford. So rather than influencing my remaining undergraduate career, my time abroad served as more of a capstone on the experience, especially for my French major, and I really did have the chance to greatly improve my French skills.
In terms of my life after graduation, I am glad that I went abroad. On one hand, I have always been a more independent person, but going abroad allowed me to prove that to myself. On the other hand, I am not a person who adapts well to changes. I like to know what’s coming. Last semester, so many unexpected things happened. Being in a foreign country and feeling unfamiliar with everything definitely was an experience that allowed me to grow a lot. This is a skill that I will definitely use in my life in the future.
My time abroad also forced me to be open to new things and learn about a new culture. Though French and American cultural are similar in many ways, there are some significant differences, and living in a culture different from my own has helped me not only be less judgmental, but also to look at my own culture through a more critical lens.
Though it is difficult for me at the moment to understand exactly how my experience will impact me, I know that the memories I have of traveling, meeting new people, speaking French, and seeing amazing places will stay with me forever, and I’m grateful for that.