What a Semester Abroad Taught Me
In the Fall of 2017, I spent my time abroad in London.
It was an experience like no other. The city felt alive, everything about it was breathtaking. I had never felt that a foreign city could be my home – I even believed that I couldn’t be away from home for more than two weeks – and for three months London was definitely my home.
It has been so difficult for me to write this, because describing those three months in my life felt nearly impossible to write about in just a single blog post. What made it even more difficult was that I never really documented anything I did while I was there (which I recommend you do if you ever live abroad), so I had to rely only on my memory. I thought about moving on from this to write different things, since it has been so long since I came back to the States; but, I really wanted my next post on this blog to be about my time in London, so I put off writing anything else (for this blog) until I did so. And I ended up being in an endless cycle of not writing anything, but in the end, I feel like this post was worth it.
What I have come to realize while being back in the States, is that whenever I am asked how being in London was, I find it difficult to give a real answer – and so, my answer just ends up simply being, “It was good” or “I loved it.” And those responses are most certainly real, as they are the truth, however they are not real in that they did not have any meaning.
So “it was good” or “I loved it” was in no way is incorrect – they just never told the full story, and I wanted to give the full story, or at least a summary of it.
Now when I look back at London, everything seemed like a blur. I’m not saying that it was forgettable, since it was quite the opposite – time just went by so fast, sometimes I wonder if I was even in London. I’ve made many great memories, which I will cherish forever, yet those moments passed as quickly as they came, and eventually the time came where I was out of moments to live through and I was back in the States.
And when I think about London, it is not the iconic buildings or extraordinary sights that I think about – it is the memories I made with the other students that stand out.
You see, those moments with them brought me such great joy, that even being in one of the most important cities in the world did not seem to be that important. I can talk all day about what I saw and what I did while traveling abroad – but what really made this experience rememberable for me was the community that I was a part of.
So, what did I take from my time abroad? The power of community, and the significance community has in our lives. If it weren’t for the community I had, my time in London would be null, insignificant – it would be as if I really were never there. Looking back, I can really see how God brought this community together to make this experience the greatest experience in my college career.
And, to those interested in studying in a different country, go for it! For me, studying abroad was unique in that it brought up friendships between people that one wouldn’t expect to happen, but against all odds they did – and they are friendships, I believe, that will last a lifetime. There is nothing like experiencing a different culture with your friends, and I am forever grateful to God that I got the opportunity to share this experience with everyone who studied in London last fall. If you ever get the chance to study abroad, I’d highly recommend it – it is an experience like no other.