To The Girl Who Is Afraid To Study Abroad

To The Girl Who Is Afraid To Study Abroad

A new country, alone, is scary. But what good ever came from playing it safe?

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To the girl afraid to study abroad...

Don't be. Studying abroad is one of the most challenging, unique, and rewarding experiences of my college experience.

Was I afraid to embark on a six-month solo journey across the ocean? Yes. But I knew that in the long run that if I didn't do it, I would regret it. Filling out applications, buying expensive plane tickets, stressing over getting my Visa in time--the entire process was just short of a nightmare.

Yet, studying abroad gave me things I never would've gotten had I not done so.

Better Spanish skills.

Ability to problem solve.

Public transit system understanding in multiple cities.

Appreciation for luxuries I never considered luxuries.

Doing and seeing things I'd only ever heard about in a classroom.

Studying abroad is scary, at first. You'll get homesick and you'll miss American food. You'll miss the parts of your daily routine at home and you'll wish you had more money. You'll have to readjust to a new form of college life and find friends in an entirely new place.

So many people reach the end of their study abroad programs and can't wait to go home, but I was different. I loved so many things about my life in Spain but I had things back home that I missed as well. I found that readjusting to my home culture was harder than adjusting to Spanish culture. Now that I'm back home, studying at my American university and speaking only English on a regular basis, I miss Spain, I miss my European friends and my American friends from other states, I miss Spanish grocery store prices, I miss the Madrid Metro, I miss tinto de verano, I miss traveling to what felt like a whole new world for less than $100 (different countries feel like different worlds sometimes).

And I feel like that's something irreplaceable. Having another thing, another life, another culture, another time zone, another place to miss... especially when that thing is another home.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Day 3 In Italy: Florence

When you're so used to your hometown, other people's hometown are far more beautiful

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Our final morning in Venice, we boarded a ferry and rode to the other side of Venice where we got on a tour bus and drove for about four hours to Florence.


Your browser does not support the video tag. On the ferry from one side of Venice to the otherBrooke Burney


Upon entering Florence, one of the first things we saw were the Ponte Vecchio. Our hotel was also just adjacent to it so we got to walk across this bridge quite a few times.


Brooke Burney


Soon after we got to Florence, we put our luggage in the hotel and we were off to explore Florence. We went to a small town square and ate and met up at the church that was in that area. After this, we saw Pitti Palace, where there is a secret passageway lining the town where the chief could walk. The street that Pitti Palace is located used to be lined with butcher and leather shops, making the town smell unpleasant. The chief did not like this so he changed these butcher shops into jewelry shops where he was able to purchase whatever jewelry he pleased while it also did not smell up the streets.


Pitti PalaceBrooke Burney


After this, we walked to the Signoria Square where there were statues of some Greek gods and a replica of the statue of David.


Poseidon was under construction :(Brooke Burney


During this part of our tour it began raining, so we spent one or two hours trying to stay dry. Our tour guide had us huddle under a balcony but once that got crowded, we moved to a huge tourist shop where we stayed until it calmed down.


Brooke Burney


After this, we had time to shop and eat but once that leisure time was up, we were guided through the Signoria Square and were given the history of the buildings that stand there and we passed the church in which the Statue of David was originally supposed to reside.


The Statue of David was going to go in that nook on top of the dome, under the golden crossBrooke Burney


At this time it was about 7 PM and we were headed to a cooking school where our entire group prepared dinner for everyone. Some of us were making the appetizer, others making the main course, and rest were making desert. I made pasta, and we made it from scratch which was not as difficult as anticipated and turned out delicious.


Made from scratch pastaBrooke Burney


After dinner we went back to our hotel, however before entering, our tour guide asked if the group wanted gelato. Of course, everyone piped in, except for the four of us girls that went together. Our tour guide told us he would take us to a club if we wanted to and our supervisor was okay with it. So we went to our room, got ready and then we were off to the club that is right around the corner from our hotel. If you want to read about that experience here's the link!

Once we got back, we went to sleep around 3 AM, and we were ready for more exploration tomorrow; bright and early.

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