Everything has happened so fast since my last journal entry. I am trying to gather all my thoughts and memories. I’m trying to connect somehow and I just can’t. When you are abroad many different things happen at the same time. It is the perfect time to step away from your life and have a completely different life. All the things you are exposed to when you are away, will remain with you forever. Sometimes we are urged to make sense of the things that happen around us. We want to find an explanation to connect the dots. And we can only connect those dots when we look backwards. And maybe that’s the reason why I took some days to write this last post.
When you travel to a country so different from your own, you are going to be exposed to a set of beliefs and customs completely different from your own. I know. We have all heard this so many times that it sounds like a cliche. But it is still true. Actually, when faced with uncommon situations, you question your beliefs. For example, one of the first things that caught my attention with Andreas (my host family) was that every time time he was in the living room the door was closed. I assumed that he wanted to be by himself; therefore, I never knocked on the door. It wasn’t for almost two weeks when I took the courage to knock on the door. My relationship with Andreas grew closer and we became friends. We would watch the soccer world cup games together, play golf, go on a walk, even my german improved a lot as we grew closer. All it took was to knock on the door and ask what he was doing.
When we are away we are going to be exposed to hundreds of situations like that. We are going to see later when looking back that all these great adventures and experiences happened, because at some point we took the courage to do something different from what we are used to. Studying abroad is one of those decisions that take us out of our comfort zone and will definitely lead to unknown experiences that will help us grow as human beings. Do not hesitate. Fill out the form. Apply.
Everything is not all sunshine and rainbows. You are going to go through uncomfortable situations. It’s hard when you try to communicate in a language that is not your own. You are going to feel frustrated that you are making zero progress in the language you may be studying. It is fine. Learning a new language requires a lot of patience and actually making those mistakes that will eventually make you get better at it. You may go through horrible experiences. For example, your backpack with you passport and laptop inside may be stolen ( yeah it did happen to me). Whatever it is. Do not let a single experience have an overall impact on our trip. Think about how you want to remember your study abroad experience. Choose your memories carefully, because at the end that will be all you will be left with. The memories and what we learned from them.
The past month in Kassel was something different. I went from moments of true happiness to a lot disappoinment. I had a lot of peaceful moments as well. It was a time in which I learned a lot about myself, questioned my beliefs and even questioned the things I thought I was one hundred percent sure about. My stay in Kassel went by so fast. I wish I could have stayed longer, but at some point we all need to go back. I’ve decided to take those wonderful memories with me which made me happy, and I learned from the bad moments which are making me stronger.