Hello America!!!

So my study abroad experience has come to an end. I can’t believe that it’s over!!

Living in Europe for 4 months has taught me SO many things. I’ve become more open and learned to trust people. I’ve met all types of people and experienced various cultures that have really opened my eyes. It’s clear that every culture has it’s similarities. However I’ve learned some people don’t like small talk, or deodorant and some people like to take their time at dinner instead of rushing through it. Their are so many different ways of living and it was amazing to experience just a small portion of them.

I had to put blind trust in people that I just met or in the natives asking for help. After just meeting each other, my roommates and I planned a trip to Barcelona. I was traveling with people that I had just met; and putting more trust in people has given me the most caring, funny and adventurous friends. Studying abroad took my shy, awkward self and forced me to crack open my shell.

It also made my taste buds hungry for more! I’ll now try anything at least once. I tried all kinds of food and learned to appreciate good cooks {look on my roommate Leah’s food Instagram for some great highlights @czechoutmyfood}.

Studying abroad all-around makes you a stronger person. All of my limits were pushed this semester. At the ripe age of 21, I’ve lived at home most of my life, close to family, close to similar cultures & this experience forces you to grow up. I know we all want to believe we are the center of the universe, but fact is you’re not.

I had to push myself to get past the language barrier. I went from everything being in english, to trying to read symbols. I learned how to talk with my hands to convey what I was saying. Also, saying things slower and in the same way does not help. I had to push myself to do more things alone, which I’ve realized can be very rewarding. The best feeling was having Prague be completely foreign to me a couple weeks ago and then knowing where I was without a GPS. I was across the globe, in a new city, doing some pretty surreal things all by myself!!

I’ve learned how to slum it and enjoy it. I went from a bed that was equivalent to sleeping on a cloud, to sleeping on a twin dorm bed again…{shoutout to Jarov Shores}. Traveling isn’t always fancy hotels and nice airlines. I’ve stayed in hostels, Airbnb’s and most of the time always had to share a bed. I learned that material things don’t really matter; but all the stories and experiences I got from my travels mean so much more. Just like sharing a bed with Leah and Kailyn in Munich after we went to Oktoberfest.

I learned that it’s okay to fail at things, skiing being one of them. I also learned that it’s okay to get lost and walk around without a final destination. One of my last days in Prague, I walked around by myself to places I’d never been and it was one of my favorite days! I learned it’s okay to be homesick. No matter how much fun I was having or how much I loved being over there; there were still some days where I just wanted to be home with my family and friends.

Studying abroad will always have a special place in my heart. I will always miss living in that crappy dorm in Prague with some of the best people. So even though I’m so sad that this adventure is over, I can’t wait till my next one. I’m graduating in a few months and I can’t wait for what’s next. Who knows, I could be back over there pretty soon. I’m also excited for someone to invent a time machine so I can go relive it again and again.

-Rachel

Here’s a video of clips from different places I’ve gone!

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  1. December 31, 2016 / 5:25 am

    I’m so glad it was such a great experience. Thanks for making this video of the sights and people that your experienced (and food you ate).

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