Final Goodbyes

Flashback to 5 months ago, I would have never expected to come out of GTL with so many new experiences and stories to tell. I came with little expectations of what the semester would look like and would have never expected to become such a train fanatic and almost full time traveler every week. Besides the gorgeous mountain views, quaint little towns, and amazing foods across Europe, there are so many other things I’ve taken for granted at GTL. Without these people, I really wouldn’t have had the time of my life in Europe. So as a final goodbye to this blog post and to my time at GTL, here’s a thank you letter to everyone who’s made my journey thus far the best it could have ever been. 

To my travel buddies and new friends, 

I can’t believe 5 months of traveling with you all has passed by so fast. Regardless of where we were or how bad our train journey was or how sleep-deprived and hungry we were from trying to get back to Metz before classes started, it’s been such a fun time. I’ve not only seen so many things with you all, but I’ve also learned so much about your lives and interests in general. Most notably, thanks to Deni for taking me all the way to Bulgaria and showing me your culture. Thanks to Neel for being my personal map and travel consultant. You’re indeed more reliable than any SNCF website or Eurail time table ever could be. Thanks to those who survived the Augsmatthorn hike with me in Switzerland. That’s a ride I will never forget for sure and I’m still confused how we made it out of there that night. Thanks to the Spain/Portugal group for eating great seafood together and having a blast sea kayaking and mountain biking. Long live “Spain/Portugal!” You guys have been such a fun group to travel with and I hope we have more crazy adventures again sometime. And finally, thanks to Sam for being my ultimate travel buddy. I’m so glad I got to explore, eat, and try random new things with you so much over the past months and that’s been the greatest blessing this entire semester. To everyone else who has made my GTL journey an unforgettable one, I can never thank you enough. Love you all 🙂

To the GTL professors, staff, and admin,

Thank you so much for providing and running such an amazing and exploratory program. The professors here have been so accommodating and caring about our well-being and physical health. With around the clock GTL urgent support, consulting, and nursing staff, GTL has been equipped to meet all my needs. Here, people will actually sit down and listen to your needs, whatever it may be. It can be arranging a shuttle to and back from Cora or going to the hospital for being sick. Sending out notifications for travel surveys and mental health resources every week has been comforting for me to know that someone is watching out for us if something happens. You will never be alone at GTL if you’re struggling, that’s for sure. Special thanks to everyone for keeping the student body happy and healthy. Without you all, GTL would not have been the way it is today.

To Dev and the BDE student community,

Thanks for organizing so many fun community bonding events throughout the semester. I’ve been able to talk to and meet so many new people through the ice skating, bowling, and ping pong tournament events. It’s been such a blast. BDE has been really active in bringing GTL together as a community, which was a big change up from the beginning of the semester when COVID restrictions were tight. 

And finally to those running the GTL Blog and Instagram,

Throughout the semester, you’ve been able to bring my story and those of others to life by posting them to social media. Not only will this hopefully provide a glimpse of reality at GTL, it will also encourage prospective students to expand their horizons and spend a semester thriving in Europe. 

Thanks for everything, GTL. It’s been a great run. 

Signing off, 

Claire Lin