For my last reflection on my amazing trip through France, I’m just want to take a moment to encourage anyone who is considering an education abroad program to take the leap and make it happen. I know that it can be scary to think about making such a huge financial commitment and being so far away from home. I know that it was even more terrifying for me because I often feel like I’m still a kid, and I shouldn’t be able to make decisions this big on my own yet. I was sure that I would miss a flight, forget to pack something essential, get lost with no way to find home, or make some other mistake that would absolutely ruin the trip. Despite all of this fear, I kept taking one step at a time towards making the trip happen. All of those little steps added up to a wonderful experience that gave me the confidence that I needed to be self-sufficient.
When the study abroad program was officially over, my sister met me in Barcelona, and we traveled to Paris together. There, I thought back to elementary school when I first learned about The Louvre and Versailles and the historical significance of these places. I remembered the childhood version of myself thinking of how amazing it would be to see those places in real life. I also remembered ten-year-old Rebecca quickly dismissing that idea, because she never thought she would be able to go on such grand adventures in her lifetime. Ten-year-old Rebecca also thought that I’d be taller, prettier and all around more exciting by now… But there I stood, in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace at Versailles with the pages of history books coming to life around me. There, I discovered the rare and precious feeling that, if ten-year-old Rebecca could see me, she might actually be proud of me in that moment. I’m not saying that traveling has solved all of my problems or made my life complete; but it did give me the chance to see the world and myself in a different light. I hope that anyone considering an education abroad program will take the steps toward setting out on that adventure and take time to fully appreciate each moment of the trip.