That’s it for my study abroad experience!
It’s hard to believe I’m completely done with the semester. I’m not back to normal yet, part of me still wants to roll out of bed, slip into my business casual attire and hop on the tube. Every morning so far, I’ve made myself a cup of tea with milk and sugar. I imagine this routine will continue long after these first few days home. Little habits that I developed overseas will wear off with time, but for now I feel very strange in this familiar place.
I flew out of the UK on April 20th and spent the next five days exploring Lisbon, which was my favorite trip so far. We drove electric scooters past beaches and tile-covered homes, worrying not about homework, but whether we’d eat an early dinner so we could catch the sunset. We took a tour around Portugal, visiting beautiful gardens and colorful palaces. Unlike any trip prior, this felt like a vacation. I hope to return someday to see Porto.
Looking back, I’m glad I ended up choosing London over the other study abroad locations. I felt like I stretched just far enough out of my comfort zone. I learned to be more confident, but never receded into the familiar and away from the opportunities in front of me. If I spent the semester somewhere like Shanghai (my initial choice), I worry the language barrier would be too high at times; my curiosity would be overshadowed by doubt in my communication abilities. I’m just speculating, I’m sure studying abroad in Shanghai would be a phenomenal trip. Regardless, I can’t imagine another city would’ve provided me with the experience that London did at this point in my life. Not to mention the incredible public transportation that made exploration of the city that much easier.
I’m struggling to find the words to explain how this semester moved me. Anthony Bourdain summed it up perfectly: “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
Thank you so much for keeping up with my blog! Having this page encouraged me to make the most of my free time in London. Without a public blog, I wouldn’t have had as much motivation to do everything I did. I’d love to come back again and see parts of the city that I didn’t get to cross off my list. Until then, back to the real world. Cheers!