My First Semester Abroad

11:58 AM

I’m 3 a.m. and I can’t sleep.

The abroad jet lag is very real. I’ve been constantly tired, and I can’t be bothered to drink Americanos after only drinking espresso for the past four months, so staying awake isn’t much of an option unless I nap the whole day, like I did today.

I miss London like crazy. I don’t care if people say New York or Los Angeles or Paris are the best cities in the world – you’re wrong. I fell in London before I met it, and our love story is one for the ages. London was my top choice for my university’s abroad program and it’s now home. People always say that home isn’t a place, it’s a person, and the people I’ve met in the city have really made it home.

Going abroad is the most amazing experience. I think it’s important for everyone to get away for a while – to pack up and leave his or her families, to go somewhere new and grow as a person. You learn a lot when you’re away from home and live with a group of almost-strangers. You change, you grow.

“I think it’s important to get away from your…where you’ve grown up for some of your life.” – Like, Crazy

This semester I focused on London instead of travelling. Living in London has always been my dream so travelling didn’t appeal to me as much as others. I left my heart in London and every other place I visit didn’t compare. I loved climbing Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh and eating pasta in Italy; I drank my heart away in Santorini and ate acai bowls in a hammock in Barcelona, but none of these places compared to my new home.

Going abroad you learn a lot about yourself. You learn whom you travel well with, what you like and what you don’t. You learn your alcohol limits, you meet new people, and you’re constantly challenged. You learn how to be independent, how to hide your tears so that your five roommates don’t know you’re crying, and you fall in love with people and places. You meet the best people in the world and realize that one day they’re not going to be in your life anymore when you move away. You learn how to live in tight corridors and how to wake up for a 3a.m. flight and how to write a research paper the night before it’s due. You learn to make time for what’s important to you and you focus on yourself.

After being in London, I hate America. I had no desire to come home, even if it’s just for a week; it’s a week too long. I miss the tube, British accents, drinking, walking along the Thames, going to Pret, and seeing people actually dress well. All I missed in America was Target, Trader Joe’s and good Mexican food. It’s weird being back and I’ve had a lot of culture shock. You get used to the culture abroad, but coming back to America is giving me a headache. I miss London already.

Going abroad is the best thing you can do while you’re young. Go, travel for a semester or a year. Go and be independent and grow. Make new friends, make new memories. Find a new place to call home; just don’t stay in the same place your whole life. Make sure to get out there and travel. That’s my one piece of advice: travel.

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