Three months and four days ago, I arrived in Sunderland, England, to spend a semester studying abroad. It feels weird to write that because I don't think it has fully hit me yet that I was allowed the opportunity to come here. I don't feel like I'm going to be leaving a foreign country tomorrow. I feel like I'm leaving home.
I will admit that this journey hasn't always been as fun as my social media has led you to believe. I've taken on the ultimate challenge as an introvert: go to a place where you know absolutely no one and force yourself to step out of your very small comfort zone and make some friends. I walked into my classes intimidated and out of place, but damn it I made friends. I may have taken a few weeks, but I can proudly say that I'm walking out of here with friends across the pond that I will remember forever.
Another challenge of this time has been my fashion design class, the bane of my freaking existence. As you all have probably guessed, I'm a writer. I feel way better analyzing fashion and writing a blog post about it than analyzing fashion and trying to design my own garment and an original print. But damn it, I did that too (blog post to come on the finished garment). To be honest, many tears were shed in that class, but it provided me a different look into the industry that I so desperately want to be a part of... but I'll stick to writing, thanks.
These challenges that I overcame have only added to my experience here. As you all know, I've traveled... a lot. Here's a list of all the places I went:
Dublin, Ireland, for a cold mug of Guinness that I poured myself.
Paris, France, for my second adventure in my favorite city.
Barcelona, Spain, for plenty of tapas and sangria and even a futbol game.
London, England, for some big city life in this small country.
Geneva, Switzerland, to Rome, Italy, to Nice, France, to Rome, Italy, to London, England, for two weeks of crazy non-stop traveling.
I did have trips to Amsterdam and Berlin planned as well, but unfortunately, I have had a terrible cold since the end of the two week trip that has kept me in bed most days. It was nice, though, to stay in Sunderland for the last few weeks and spend time with friends. I know that I will come back to visit all these places again one day and I think I can wait until then. Plus, I want to share them with someone very special who's going to be waiting on the other side of US customs for me tomorrow.
As wonderful as this trip has been, I have to say that I'm happy to be going home tomorrow. It will be nice to finally be in the same time zone as everyone I talk to and to see all the people that I've missed so much over these past three months. It's hard to know what to say right now because I'm just wondering where my time went. It feels like I was just walking onto that flight at O'Hare and now I'm going to step on a plane (actually two) to come back home.
I remember going to a visit day to North Central in August of 2013 and a lady from the study abroad program asked me what I wanted to major in. Journalism was my answer, and she instantly told me that University of Sunderland was the place to go. Three years later, I did it. And now I'm leaving. I don't know when I'll wrap my head around the fact that I studied abroad.
I'm at a loss for what to say, so if you have any questions for me or want to hear about my experience here, please leave a comment or reach out to me on other social media.