EMILY FRITZSON- Today I finish the “study” portion of my study abroad experience! I have officially finished all my classes, taken all my final exams and turned in all my papers. I have completed my semester abroad. And that’s a damn good feeling.
I write my last blog post in my PJs surrounded by my packed suitcases and my empty room. I’ve set my alarm for the disgustingly early hour of 5am to get up and go to the airport to greet my mom, who will be visiting for the next 8 days before we fly home together. So although I still have a week left in Spain, this is my last night in my host family’s house.
Being the nostalgic, sentimental person that I am, I’m honestly surprised I don’t feel more sad right now. I really don’t think it has hit me yet that I’m leaving soon. I don’t think I feel sad because I have way more reason to feel happy. These 17 weeks in Europe have taught me more than I ever could have imagined academically, intellectually and personally. And I have really grown and accomplished a lot in my time here. I think back to January, sitting in a crappy restaurant with my Dad at Logan Airport before going through security, picking at a limp salad that I barely ate because of the giant knot in my stomach. I really had no clue what to expect, and it took everything in me not to burst into tears when my Dad pulled me in for a giant bear hug as we were forced to part ways.
And first thing tomorrow morning, I get to see my mom for the first time in months and I can’t help by smile now just thinking about it. Seeing as she is the one and only familiar face to come to see me in Spain this semester, I think her arrival has mentally marked the end for me for the past couple months, and I cannot wait. I can’t wait to dance barefoot around the house, make a super big, fattening breakfast using every dish in the kitchen, and fall asleep with my dog on my lap watching bad American reality TV.
As strange as it sounds, this experience has undoubtedly made me appreciate these simply pleasures, and for that, and many other reasons, I wouldn’t have done anything differently. This experience has been the hardest but most rewarding months of my life. I have met so many cool people, including from Skidmore, that I never otherwise would have met or gotten to know. I was able to have an authentic experience in large part because of my host family experience, an opportunity not many people in this world are offered. And I now look at the world through a different set of eyes than I did four months ago.
A HUGE shout out goes out to all the program staff and professors!! They really are as amazing as they are advertised in all the Skidmore in Spain pamphlets. I know their support and encouragement really made a big difference in my abroad experience and those of everyone in the program. I realize I totally sound like a high school senior’s graduating yearbook paragraph as I thank all the people who have helped me get to where I am but, in all honesty, I couldn’t have done it without them.
As my departure date nears and I mentally prepare to go home, I am ever so grateful for the roller coaster that has been my abroad experience. Although there were some days that were far from perfect, I wouldn’t trade my time here for the world. Still, I am ready to return to my friends and family back home. U.S.A. get ready cuz I’m coming for ya.