The emotional array of studying abroad
My time interning in London is coming to an end much more quickly than I would like it to, but with it comes reflection as well. My aunt–who’s only a few years older than me and has a role much like a sister or best friend in my life–texted me the other day telling me how excited she is for me to come home. I’ve been ignoring how quickly my time here’s ending and with her text it put everything into perspective, I don’t have that much time left in London! I can’t wait to see my family and friends again, but at the same time in just eight weeks I’ve fallen in love with the city and I have to say goodbye to people I’ve grown close to here. London has proven to challenge me to the point of break down, forced me to fight to overcome challenge and has become a monumental transformation period of my college career. Through the challenges I can’t imagine not having made the decision to come.
What has challenged me?
Studying abroad is different than traveling for holiday because of the sheer amount of time that you’re away for. I think there are naturally these various phases you go through along the way.
- Pure excitement when you get accepted.
- Mix of excitement and nerves a few weeks before you leave.
- Fear when you’re first here because everything’s new and you don’t know what you’re doing or how long you’ll feel out of place. Remember when I said I kept getting lost? I was scared to get around because I didn’t want to get lost, but it only took a week for me to know my way around better and now I know the streets like I know Stevens Point.
- Settled in.
- Homesickness. I called my parents crying because I felt lonely.
- Like this is now home and you’re again mixed emotions about leaving.
Going back to my conversation with my aunt … I told her I couldn’t wait to see everyone again, but that it’s a double-edge sword because in order for me to say hi and hug everyone I love again I have to say goodbye to all the beautiful people I’ve met in London. My heart tells me that I’ll see them again but my head says more than likely I never will.
I’ve had these thoughts when I came home from my first study abroad program in Oaxaca, Mexico, and I met some lovely people from Ireland. Saying goodbye was hard, but you take it with a grain of salt. I thought, thank you for the memories and see ya never, however, the never doesn’t seem to be true. A year after that program, one of my Irish friends I met in Oaxaca was in the U.S. and traveled to Wisconsin for a few days and stayed with my family. When I said goodbye to him I never expected a year later he would be sitting in my parents’ kitchen eating breakfast with us! To make it even more unbelievable, this same friend got a hostel and stayed in London just to spend a weekend with me here! That’s the beautiful thing about travel and I have UW-Stevens Point Office of International Education to thank for it.
Cheers from London!
Miranda Resch ’16 is a business administration-FIRE and Spanish double major at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.