So as I am writing this I am sitting on my balcony for the last time and our landlady is checking our apartment for everything before we leave for the last time. It seems so strange that it’s already been a little over five months in this apartment and that we now have to leave after all this time here. I can’t believe that my time is almost over and that i only have one more week in Europe before I return home to the real world, because in all actuality study abroad is a small escape from yourself and your normal life- a time of adventure and traveling and learning and exploring and taking advantage of every moment and not sleeping.
The good and bad thing about study abroad is that you live in a certain place for an extended period of time. Its good because you get to meet the people, learn about the city and country’s histories and really take part in a different culture. But the bad part of that is that you end up leaving your heart in a new place that you won’t be able to live in anymore.
I always knew that it would be hard to leave, but I never expected it to be this difficult to say goodbye and I never expected to love a new place this much. Before study abroad I had the mindset that I would travel and live a bunch of places throughout my life, but after witnessing the incredible sense of community here and hanging out with people who have been together their whole lives, I don’t know, maybe living in one place for a long period of time isn’t so bad.”
– June 2014, Barcelona
To me, this quote exemplifies everything about study abroad- the escape, the adventures, the opportunities, the heartbreak of saying goodbye.
Study abroad teaches you how to say goodbye. It teaches you to fall in love, but then let that love go so that you can move on to new adventures. As I’m beginning to finish up my last few days in Berkeley, I’m having to say goodbye to so many people and places that my heart hurts nearly everyday.
But after already saying goodbye to study abroad and a beautiful semester in Barcelona, I know that I can handle the final goodbye that graduation will bring in a few short days even if I cry for the entirety of that final drive down the 5 to Southern California.
I know that even those these years are supposed to be the best years of my life- the years that I will always want to relive and remember- I still have so many new adventures to look forward to. It’s not the end, but the beginning and I can’t wait to see where my next adventure brings me…
More than anything I dreamed of studying abroad and living in a place where I knew no one. But now that I’m leaving college? Not so much. I only dream of reliving these past four years and having all of my best friends within a twenty minute walk from my home.
But, as I mentioned in my previous post, everything will be okay because in reality, there are so many places in the world to explore, so many new people to meet, and so many things to do that it’s impossible to fit everything in for a lifetime and it’s foolish to just stay put.
So for now, I will cherish the present and everything around me, and look delightedly forward to the new treasures that life will bring. So as I said my fins despres to my beautiful Catalan city ten months ago, I will now say my goodbyes to Cal with a huge GO BEARS!