University of Wisconsin–Madison

Cheers

It’s taken me quite a bit of time to write this last blog post. For one, it’s hard for me to sum up four months of my life that I’m still trying to understand and process. It’s also hard to describe the end of something when you didn’t really want it to end in the first place. But, my summer job starts tomorrow, so it’s officially summer for me. The semester is done (to be fair, it was done a while ago, but still) and the real world is waiting.

When I was thinking about what to write for this post there were a lot of things that went through my mind, but most were gushy or nonsensical. So, I decided to end the way I started, with a couple lists.

Top Ten Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Left (in no particular order):

  1. Studying abroad doesn’t mean life is perfect. There will be drama, you will feel pushed to your limits, you’ll get sick and not have your mom. Still, with all of this, life abroad is about as close to perfect as it gets.
  2. Make lists for everything. Where you want to travel in order of importance and what you want to see while you’re there.
  3. Stop calculating the price with the conversion rate (unless the dollar is stronger than the country your living in). It will make buying anything, even groceries, miserable.
  4. You’ll probably spend more money than you expect on cupcakes, candy and at cafes than you think.
  5. Traveling can be extremely stressful. This is something I really didn’t understand till I did it. Give your travel buddy a break.
  6. Sometimes you actually have to do homework and write long papers and it probably won’t be fun.
  7. Find a spot in your city that you claim as yours and go to it when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
  8. Bring a comfort from home (a blanket, stuffed animal, etc.). At some point you’ll be happy you have it.
  9. There will be a lull when you start feeling comfortable in your city and stop doing as many touristy things. Take advantage of this time and don’t just sit and watch Netflix.
  10. Live in the moment as much as humanly possible, when you get home it’ll feel like a dream and you’ll want the memories.

Top Ten Things I’m Grateful for After Studying Abroad (again, no order):

  1. My friends and family at home who made an effort to stay in touch and made time to Facetime or chat. It was so nice to feel the love from home.
  2. I got to see things I have dreamed of and many I haven’t. Much of it took my breath away.
  3. Mars bars, Haribo Starmix and sours and Hummingbird bakery.
  4. Friends who bring your favorite candy when they come back.
  5. The people I got to meet while traveling. Whether it was the stranger on the first day who got Googled where we were supposed to go or chance encounters that turned into friendships, it was amazing to meet so many different people.
  6. The wonderful, crazy, unique people I got to live with. Everyone has affected me and we will always be a dysfunctional family. Thank you for all of the conversations, support in times of need, goofy moments and the endless games of pong in the kitchen.
  7. Being of legal drinking age.
  8. My parents for not only paying for the trip, but also giving me endless support and answering my desperate calls at any time. Also, for visiting!
  9. My own (queen) bed in my own room. Not that staying with three other girls in a room that looked like an orphanage didn’t have its perks.
  10. The marvelous, diverse and lovely city I got to call home.

Thanks to all of you who have followed along with me on this blog. It’s been great to hear people say they’re reading it! This concludes my London experience, but hopefully just for now. Cheers. X