This morning, I completed my last exam of this semester and it feels absolutely surreal. On my way back to La Fayette, a place I have called home for four months, I immediately begin reminiscing on the amazing experiences and memories I’ve made here. I also think back to my first blog post, and it is interesting to revisit my pre-trip expectations and anticipations. Returning to Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go”, I discover four lines that encapsulate my time abroad quite beautifully:
“You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.”
I’ve certainly seen great sights and flown high heights! More importantly, I can confidently declare that studying abroad has been a life-changing experience for me. Living in an unfamiliar environment challenged me to step outside my comfort zone, which fostered personal growth and a new level of maturity. Along the way, I managed to build new relationships and friendships that will extend far beyond this four month period. Travelling to different countries introduced to me to new customs and people from all walks of life. I sampled a myriad of cuisines, and less successfully, new languages. I lounged on a beach in Barcelona and travelled 2,000 ft up into the Swiss Alps. I visited 9 countries in total, and experienced parts of the world that have always been on my bucket list. Travel granted me access and insight into various cultures and gifted me with a stronger appreciation for the world’s diversity. I value diversity and the qualities that make us unique; that said, venturing to new cities also taught me that people are very much alike despite seemingly insurmountable cultural barriers.
I left the United states as a nervous yet eager, wide-eyed engineering student ready to explore new horizons. I leave France much in the same way, but now instilled with a new sense of confidence. I am returning home an experienced traveler and global citizen. I cannot believe how quickly four months passed. My time in Metz has exceeded all my expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed writing for the GTL blog and am so grateful for the opportunity to share and keep track of my memories. I am glad that prospective GTL students can use my blog as a resource for advice and a glimpse of the excitement that waits.
While I am eager to return home to reunite with family and friends, there are a many parts of this experience I will miss. I will miss the spontaneity that comes with each weekend. I will miss the different foods I indulged in, from döner kebabs to French cheese and baguettes. I will not soon forget the pieces of history I learned about each country. I will miss my professors, some of which were the best I’ve had as an undergraduate student. I will miss the bond that 138 built in our short time here.
I look forward to finishing my remaining semesters at Georgia Tech on a strong and positive note. I cannot wait to see how the life lessons I’ve acquired while abroad will apply to life back home.
Au revoir France!