T-8 days until I’m back in the air
Czech word of the day:
Four months. 119 days (and counting…)
Studying abroad has been such an incredible experience. I have met so many wonderful people, travelled to more places than I could have dreamt, and grown more than I ever thought I could in four months.
Before leaving for study abroad I read countless blog posts, lists, and reflections form people who had studied abroad and I felt like I kept reading the same things: “It was amazing!” “It changed my life!” “I grew and learned so much!” “Everyone who has the chance needs to study abroad!” “You’ll never be the same! Now that I’ve done it—I can wholeheartedly echo every single one of those statements. As you might have read in my first blog post studying abroad is something I’ve known I wanted to do for a while, and to be on the other side of one of my dreams is surreal. We did it. We really did it. We just studied abroad. <–I definitely say that to myself a lot. Also when I say “studied” abroad I’m not joking—it’s a real thing, I did actually study—don’t worry mom. I would also like to give a shout out to those long bus rides for prime reading time!
I also definitely believe there is something extra special about the friends you make while studying abroad. A week ago we were saying “See you later” and I miss them, I miss them an awful lot. We came not really knowing what to expect, slightly nervous about making friends, and definitely a bit intimidated by figuring out public transportation. But we left full of stories to tell, our minds stretched, our hearts full…..and sad to leave a place we came to love. Prague wove us together and our weekend adventures bonded us through unforgettable stories and experiences.
If anyone were to ask me how my time abroad was I would be hard-pressed to choose just a handful of stories to tell. The memories I’ve made will not soon be forgotten. They are memories of a time when I accomplished a dream of mine, a time when I let myself take risks and fail with laughter, and a time when I grew and learned more about myself than I imagined.
Before I left, my advisor, an amazing and wise woman of God, asked me what I hoped to learn or gain from my experience, I said I wanted to make the most of my time abroad—I didn’t want to miss out on anything. I wanted to live and experience the world from a different perspective. She replied reminding me that our life, our full and abundant life, is found in Christ no matter where we are—whether we are travelling to new places every week or if we are spending our weekends at home. I kept this bit of wisdom in my mind but didn’t really come back to it until recently.
I’ve realized the truth to what she said. You see, maybe living isn’t what we expect it to be. Maybe an abundant life doesn’t mean we are constantly doing something new. And maybe, just maybe we can find life anywhere God brings us. I think we can. In fact, I know we can. When we find our life in Christ—we have found our life. Our new lives began when Christ died for our sins thus giving us the opportunity to have a restored relationship with God through Him. Each day, as we grow closer in our relationship with God we experience more and more of the life He has for us—and that life is full!
I would also like to give a HUGE thank you to everyone that continued to encourage me to study abroad and go after one of my dreams. WE did it! I couldn’t have done it without the support and encouragement of so many amazing people. Thanks mom and dad for supporting me and letting your 20 (now 21) year old daughter fly across the world without you. Thank you to my brother for always telling me to just do it—go to that place, book that plane, and to take risks. Thank you to my spectacular family for being excited for me and always reminding me that you are praying for me and are excited for me to come home! Thank you to my best friends for putting up with all my mini-freak outs filling out applications and visa forms before I left as well as reminding me that I would be okay and they were just a phone call away. Thank you to my amazing advisor for encouraging me throughout the whole process since freshman year and for being so willing to help me with classes, schedules, and internship preparation! Thank you to SEU’s wonderful study abroad department for being a source of reassurance that it would be amazing and for always supporting me throughout the whole process! And thank you to my Jesus, my best friend, for this incredible opportunity—you continue to seek after my heart and to see me grow more and more into the person you have created me to be.
Don’t worry. The adventure doesn’t stop here. Stay tuned.