I spent the past three weeks travelling across Europe with thirty strangers, who are now some of my closest friends. During this time abroad, I learned about myself as a person as well as experienced a variety of different cultures. After sitting back and reminiscing about my experiences, I decided that the most important lesson that I learned reflects on a quote Dr. Smalley told us during our group meal in Florence – “It is more important to have someone to share a meal with than to have food on the table.” As fun as it is to be able to say that I’ve been to all these different countries, it is even more fun to have experienced it what I am sure are now lifelong friends. These people, whom I never would have met otherwise, are peers with whom I can study, share similar interests with, and hang out with whenever I need a break from school.

Another important point that Dr. Smalley made at our last location visited is that this trip has impacted us in ways that we will not even realize until years to come. Whenever it comes time for us to buy a house and landscape the yard, will we incorporate some of the features we saw in the various gardens of our tour? When we decorate the inside of our houses, will we dot the walls with Monet, Van Gogh, or any of the other artists we saw in the museums we visited? Although I won’t know the answer to these questions for years to come, I do know this – the past three weeks has been the best of my life, with some of the greatest people in the world, and there is not a single thing I would change about it.