Travel Journal #9 — Coming Home

Matthias Church (Budapest)As of tomorrow, I’ll have been home for one week. It’s been great to be back home with my family and friends and tell them everything that I’ve been doing and seeing for the past four months. The questions I’ve been asked the most are “Do you feel totally different?” and “How do you think you’ve changed?”
brother at airportThose are very difficult questions to answer for me but very important to reflect upon. I think that I’ve gained an appreciation for other cultures, but in a different way than I expected. I always thought that when I’d visit another country, I’d feel so different and that the culture would be foreign to me. Traveling to five foreign countries turned that perspective on its head. While we may eat different foods and have different religions and political beliefs, we’re all fundamentally the same. People in other countries are just as happy with their lives as I am with mine. They go to school, have families and friends, and enjoy the same things I do. I love traveling and seeing the beauty of other countries, but I no longer see foreigners as so different than myself. The geography, architecture, culture, and traditions of other countries are beautiful, and I want to experience as much of that as possible.
Also, I’ve realized that I’m braver that I ever thought possible. I never thought that I’d go to foreign cities with a short list of places I wanted visit, and find my way around for an entire weekend, or five days, much less an entire semester. I never thought I’d make so many friends and feel so at home in a place that wasn’t my original home.
The other day someone told me “The story is over,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. My story of learning, travel, and loving life is only just beginning. Studying abroad made me hungry for more of what the world has to offer, and I want to push my limits to see what I can achieve.
At the beginning of this journey, I had an attitude shift. I went from thinking about things that I’d be doing for the last time, to things that I’d get to do for the first time. As this chapter of my life is closing and another is opening, I’m more optimistic than ever. Overall, I think this entire experience made me more comfortable and confident with myself. I realize that I can expand my dreams to encompass the entire world and that I’m capable of making my own way in the world. Each country has it’s own beauty and I hope to experience as much of that as possible throughout my lifetime.
by Julie Springate ’14, currently participating in the Centre-in-Scotland study abroad program. Learn more about study abroad in Scotland.
PHOTO: Enjoying Urquhart Castle in the Scottish Highlands, and reuniting with my brother at the airport after almost four months abroad.

By |2012-12-19T15:30:52-05:00December 19th, 2012|News, Study Abroad, Travel Journals - Scotland|