As the Fall semester commences for colleges and universities around the country, I begin to get nostalgic and restless. Four years ago this Fall I would have been on a plane heading to England, where I would begin my time studying abroad. It was a dream come true to travel to a place that I'd been dreaming of visiting since I could dream. The added bonus was my school was centrally located near London, so I was amidst the city life and had plenty of access to trains, tubes, buses, and planes.
My time abroad let me not only explore and live life like a true Londoner, but I took a couple trips out of country too. From London me and my friends traveled out to Paris via the Chunnel to see all its wonders from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame to the Louvre. We also took a flight over to Ireland where we saw practically all of the lower half via bus driving from York to Dublin then to the West Coast to view the Cliffs of Moher. Lastly, I made my friend run around Rome with me, so I could view all the places I'd read about in my history books and hop around from piazza to piazza. Oh and I also really loved our groups trip up to Scotland, the city of Edinburgh was fantastic, cold but fun.
Now to say my time abroad left an impact on my life is an understatement. If I was able to live in London I would in a heartbeat. The city has a contemporary vibe that's balanced with its old history and sense of dignity. Deciding to travel abroad was a huge decision, knowing I was going alone to a country I'd never been before for months with possibly no sunshine sounds scary to a SoCal girl who loves her family. My biggest fear had been landing and finding myself living alone not being able to make friends because the Brits wouldn't get my American sense of humor. Well turns out they freaking loved me, especially when drunk, and I ended up befriending girls in my flat from other American colleges who were in similar programs. We traveled together, made hilarious memories, and ran around London. In fact we still get together for reunion trips despite being from different states.
So when I talk to college freshmen or sophomores, I always ask if they've thought about studying abroad. It's really something students should consider, because not only does it allow you travel but it makes you grow grow as a person. I went when I was 19 and turned 20 while in London, but when I came home I felt 25. Why? Because I had to budget, plan, and take care of myself not relying on my parents, because duh they were literally an ocean away. The other plus is looking into another world culture, being from L.A. I'm fairly cultured due to the vast amount of people, but still stepping into another country helps you become more rounded in how people live and think.
Truth is my wanderlust is still unfilled from my time abroad, but the trip did help sate my travel bug for a time. I still have much of Asian and Europe I want to hit up. In fact I'm hopefully in the next year I will take a trip out to Europe *fingers crossed. However, until then the memories and some small trips here and there will keep my love of traveling fed.
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