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Reflections on a Year Abroad

About a month into the school year here at UGA, I still find myself adjusting back to my life in the states. It has been an exciting return that has kept me very busy, until recently when I took some time to myself to reflect on my experiences.

I realized a few key things:

  1. My lifestyle had changed a lot.

I was living very differently in Spain where I developed new habits and interests. I lived in the city center, walked everywhere, and had a lot of free time to enjoy different hobbies and travel. Upon my return home, I was met with many different responsibilities that I did not have abroad and have found myself struggling with how to balance these new elements while still making time for things I had come to love in Europe. I have to work to still be focused in this fast paced, more stressful lifestyle here while incorporating pieces of what made me feel so free and relaxed in Spain.

  1. Everything in my life was changing and exciting.

I was living in a new place, studying at a new University, speaking a different language. I was meeting new people every day from all over the world. I was extremely mobile- always in a different place with a new city or country to explore just a quick bus, train, or flight away. This lifestyle kept me on my toes, it kept me excited keep doing and learning more.

  1. Life had changed at home.

While I evolved and came back a different person, life continued to go on back home as well. Dynamics had changed between friend groups, an entire year of stories and memories were made, and the people in my life also had experiences that changed them.

In the classroom, I feel a new excitement to learn and challenge myself. I find my Spanish classes more interesting and beneficial now that I am able to apply everything I’ve learned with a new confidence in my abilities.

Integrating myself back into my life here has been about accepting things, people, and experiences for what they are now and evaluating what works for me and what I’d like to change. When making comparisons, it has been helpful to consciously think of things as “different” rather than “better or worse” to stay positive and focus on things in my control. It’s easy to miss my friends or life back from Spain, but it’s better to be grateful for those friendships and experiences and continue to take advantage of them. I can apply things I’ve learned about myself and the world to continue growing. I can preserve those friendships and look forward to seeing them in their own respective countries in the future and continue to be outgoing and friendly with everyone I meet. Most importantly, I can love and cherish all of the people in my life and live it to the fullest.