I have 5 full days until I leave to go home and my study abroad experience comes to an end. While I have still have a few final papers to finish, it is hard not to constantly be thinking about how little time we have left. This has been one of the weirdest, most stressful, daydream-like periods of my life.
It’s hard to believe that we have been in Europe since August 1st. We saw summer turn into fall and fall into winter, and got to live in two different countries along the way!
People are always really surprised when I tell them that my program is only 4 people. That’s right: 4. We have interacted with others and made a few friends but at the end of the day, it was always the four of us. We have really become a family throughout this journey and it’s crazy to think that 5 months ago I had no idea who they were.
To Sam, Joel and Bryan, thank you for being 3 of the most down-to-earth and honest human beings I have ever met. You have made me feel comfortable being truly myself and confident in my abilities to handle problems and travel on my own. It has been an honor to watch you all grow and change alongside me!
To our resident directors in Vienna and Marburg, thank you for trying to help us when it felt like no one else would. Your kindness and willingness to take on this role was appreciated.
To my therapist, thank you for allowing me to facetime you throughout this entire journey and for working on your days off to talk with me! I’m really grateful for that.
To my grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives who supported me financially and emotionally during this trip, I will never forget it.
To my parents and my sister, I literally would not have survived this without you. Thank you for always answering my facetimes, sending me money in stressful situations, reading all of my blogs and never failing to give me advice when I needed it. I could not have been luckier with the support I received from you throughout this entire trip, and I can’t wait to see you!
To myself, wow you did that. Years of learning to manage my anxiety and mental health truly paid off. I was at the point in my life where I needed this experience to be able to give myself permission to change and grow and now I feel like my personal growth will never stop happening. I am so proud of myself for the confidence I have gained.
While Marburg is a one-of-a-kind city with beautiful sights at every turn, Vienna will always hold a special place in my heart. We were thrown into Vienna without much help; sent off on our bus and told which stop to get off at to find our apartment building. This was terrifying at the time, but in the end, being tossed into the city forced us to be independent from day one. The 4 of us worked together to find grocery stores, check out local street fairs, try new cafes and eventually discovered what we liked to do individually. We really got to establish a routine and a life there that you just don’t get to experience on a college campus. I have never felt as settled anywhere outside of my home than I did in Vienna. Hopefully I’ll get to come back and visit before too long!
These last few days are going to be hectic and emotional, so I am going to try and be present and reflective as often as I can. It’s a bittersweet ending, but I know I’ll carry these moments with me for the rest of my life.
Thank you to everyone who has read this blog and kept up with me along the way! I am signing off for now, but stay alert for my posts about adjusting back to the US in a few weeks! Until then,