I am home!!! It feels so good to be home, and after about a week being back, I’ve had time to reflect, see my family, and eat every one of my favorite meals in a dangerously short amount of time.

It’s really difficult to summarize the experience I had abroad. I tried to do it through blogs, stories, phone calls, or simple conversations with friends, but I don’t think it’s possible to fully describe my semester. The strange emotions, the stresses, the calm, the people, the foods, or the quick cultural adjustments with visiting a different country almost every weekend. I’ve never felt more confident, but simultaneously more insecure in my entire life. I’ve never been more unplanned yet planned, more happy yet sad, or felt more like an imposter while also feeling like I one hundred percent belonged. This entire experience was one big juxtaposition but that is what I loved most about it.

If I had to go back and do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve always lived my life trying very hard not to regret anything because I genuinely believe there is no point. I think sometimes about the people I would’ve met, or the things I would’ve done had I made one simple decision differently. But I also make sure never to dwell on it, because every single moment made my experience (while sometimes challenging) really incredible.

I think the hardest thing about this time was the unknown, but when I think about it, that is always the most difficult thing for me to deal with in life itself. If anything, this experience taught me to be more open to the unknown and try to let things go because I genuinely am not in control of everything. Things happen, and how I adjust to them and grow as an individual is way more important than the little blip that they may cause. That being said, I am still not sure about a lot of things, and that is completely okay. I wasn’t expecting this trip to be some religious awakening, but I did want to learn some things about myself, and I feel like I most definitely did.

The number one thing I learned about myself, is that I don’t need to be stressed. I am quite a stress ball and always have been but I learned pretty quickly that I can still do a lot without feeling stressed. I also learned and would recommend this to anyone travelling with lots of people: it is most important to do what you want to do, because otherwise there is no point in going abroad in the first place.

Quick side note – this blog is definitely a lot more wholesome than my other blogs, but I kind of grew tired about summarizing my trips near the end here. I did go to Spain and Nice during my last two weeks before finals (which went well for those who were concerned, considering it appeared as if I never was in school). I basically just ate a lot and laid in the sun for hours on end.

Anyway, the last most important part of my time abroad was that I gained really good relationships with people back home. I know you must be thinking, “wow you weirdo, shouldn’t you have made friends abroad?” And I definitely did make some friends who I hope to see again in the future. But I think that most importantly I learned who in my life is there for me and how important it is to stay in touch with those you love. I probably called someone back home every single day and while I was worried before I left that I would lose those connections, most of them grew way stronger. I am so incredibly thankful for all these people that stayed in touch, whether it be a single photo sent or the fact that they just read my blog. It is so easy to be kind, and it is also so very necessary. I appreciate people’s kindness more than anything, and I believe that moments of kindness were what made my time abroad the most memorable.

To sum it all up, I genuinely am really happy that I went to GTL. A year ago when I started considering going abroad, it really seemed impossible. The price tag alone made me laugh, the idea of leaving this comfortable life was downright stupid, yet for some reason I knew that I could and should do it.

I’m happy. I’m exhausted. It doesn’t even feel real. But I am thankful and feel blessed.

Thank you for reading.

Love,

Noa