Coming Home After a Year AbroadFreiburg, Academic Year 2009-2010
Any one of those worn-out cliches, the ones so often used to describe the life-changing nature of one’s time abroad and the inevitable, yet bitter-sweet departure, would be fitting for this final post. For in many ways, I don’t think I can really put the whole experience into my own words yet, let alone fathom the enormous effects it’s had on my character, academic abilities, and love for photography. That’s not to say that I’m unhappy to be back in the States, quite the opposite. For while being abroad is wonderful, an essential aspect of sojourning is coming home, reconnecting with loved ones, and reflecting on a year of running around Europe.
After an especially long period of mulling over last year’s events, I was reminded of a fun, old quotation—if you’ll allow me to nerd out for a moment—from Mr. Bilbo Baggins: “It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to…” I think it’s safe to say that in this sense I failed at keeping my feet while abroad, and I couldn’t be happier for it. From Berlin, to Prague, to Vienna, to the countless other amazing cities we got ‘swept off to’ this year, there was almost never a plan, but almost every trip ended up being chock full of absurd adventure and laughter… the way trips should be. And in the end such experiences are really one of the best forms of education you can get (the University classes were great too, but nothing beats unbridled adventure in foreign cities).
It may take a while to fully understand the ways in which my time abroad changed me; however, I can say with absolute certainty that this year has been one of the best years of my life, and I plan on jumping at the next opportunity to get back to Germany… regardless of the fact that I have no idea where I’d get swept off to thereafter.
I had a great time doing this blog, and I’ll definitely miss having an excuse for looking silly, running around with lights, tripods, and DSLRs.
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