Studying abroad is a magnificent experience and studying abroad for an entire school year has been nothing short of incredible. Throughout it all there have been many highs and lows. I’ve been struggling to write about them because if I were to include all of my thoughts we’d all be here until Backstreet was back again. In an attempt to narrow this down here are some of my thoughts I’ve had in response to people talking to me about study abroad.
It has been about 6 months since I have seen my family in person. It’s weird. It’s difficult. It kind of sucks. However, as weird as it sounds I feel like this time has brought be closer with my little sister. When I was back at school I didn’t come home very often, but it still wasn’t very long before I’d see my family. As a result, I rarely skyped and when I did the time was split between my parents and my sister with everyone trying to cram in what they wanted to say. With being abroad I’ve skyped with just my sister several times and as a result we’ve been able to talk in detail and share what’s going on in our lives. (I’m now privy to a lot high school drama I’m surprisingly proud to say) Even though it’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other, we’ve been able to grow our relationship and become much closer.
I have been in a relationship for two years now and have been gone for six months of that. A lot of people don’t tend to talk about how difficult and awkward that is, and I can’t blame them. It’s been weird for me to talk about with other people. But it is difficult. Probably one of the most difficult things for me was combating the amount of questions I’d get about it when I first decided to go abroad: Wow, you’re leaving him for that long? Do you think you’ll make it? Do you think it’s worth it? Is he okay with it? All asked with good intentions in mind, but all kind of irrelevant and annoying. I can’t see into the future. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I know that I want to make it work, and I’m willing to put in the effort to do that. Everyone’s questions made me have this intense fear that if we did break up for whatever reason while I was abroad, then I failed. You shouldn’t have to justify this to anyone. You come to it on your own terms and the two of you can figure it out the best way you know how, but no one else deserves to be involved.
I have been facing a weird battle of emotions recently. Part of me is beyond ready to be home and see my friends and family again, but part of me knows that the moment I get home I’ll already be missing living here. It’s a weird feeling to have. It’s making me question my choices here more. Should I go do this? Can I afford to take a nap? How should I be spending my time? I keep having to remind myself that I’ve had an amazing experience and there’s not a thing I should regret because at the end of the day that’s the biggest waste of time.
I’ve somehow had a life changing experience without the movie magic back drop and the dramatic song building in the background. I know. It’s unbelievable. I would have thought the camera crews would be here by now. I have grown a lot as a person in the past six months, but I’m also still me. I still like horror movies, I still eat way too much Nutella, and I’ll still be a Wofford student. My friend said it best, “You haven’t changed. This is just a new part of you we’ve never seen before.” It’s true. I’ve learned so much since being here about the world, about different cultures, about myself. That doesn’t mean I now see everything around me in a completely different way or that a light bulb has suddenly turned on in my head and I now get it. I’m still a complete disorganized and chaotic mess. That’s okay. If we’re being honest studying abroad has left me with more questions than answers and I think that’s amazing.
The reality is I’ve had many people tell me what they think my experience is supposed to be like. However, it’s never going to quite meet their imagination or yours and that’s a good thing. I don’t know what I thought this was going to be like, but I’m glad it’s turned out the way it has. I love the good and the bad and I love that pretty much nothing has gone according to plan.