With the holidays right around the corner and Thanksgiving already over, a little bit of homesickness has stuck flat 14. I must admit that I did cry while talking to my family via Skype while they enjoyed pumpkin pie, turkey, and all of the other traditional goodies. It wasn’t that I didn’t love our London style thanksgiving (Italian food, beer, and cookies), it just was that I couldn’t help feel like I was missing out on something important back home. So that brings me to an important study abroad realization – you do miss out on things the semester you are gone, but you can’t let what you are afraid to miss hold you back.
As we sat over our pasta dinner at the little Bella Vita restaurant in South Ken, we took turns going around the table saying what we were grateful for. Each one mentioned the usual: families, friends, good health, boyfriends, jobs, etc. But we all also said that we were grateful for the the chance to study abroad. It was at that moment that we all began to understand the significance of this trip. This opportunity, these last 4 months, the people we have met and the places we have been will forever impact our lives. There will never be another Thanksgiving, or another day for that matter, that we don’t think about this trip or use something we learned on this trip.
Being abroad and being immersed into a new culture does something amazing for your soul. It gives you the chance to discover yourself and to reinvent yourself. It gives you the confidence you need to grow up and it gives you a chance to figure out what is really important in your life. You try new things, from foods and fashion to new jobs and classes, you literally have the world at your finger tips.
So although you may miss out on a few birthdays, an epic party or two, a wedding, or even a birth – with today’s technology you are never actually that far away. Skype, twitter, Facebook, email, (the list goes on) keep you connected no matter how many miles separate you.
Luanne Spence is studying abroad in London, England, with the Foundation for International Education (FIE).