Between finishing my last travels around Europe and tying in the loose ends of my final exams, it is absolutely astounding that I only have four days left in London. It has been an incredible journey and truly one I will never forget. Between having a clearer idea of what I want to do, propagating a heightened independence and confidence, and securing a new outlook on the world, I have grown tremendously. Study abroad should be required for each and every student during college. It is the best way to push yourself to new limits, experience culture and diversity, and realize that the world you are living in is not the only one on the globe. Although I am excited to be home and see my family, friends, and let's be real, my dog, I am going to miss city life more than anything. Just being able to have so much at your fingertips, the capability to travel anywhere around Europe so easily, and the ability to walk into some of the most historical places in the world... Although the reverse culture shock will be apparent, it will be good to get back to my reality with a new and positive outlook on life.
To wrap up my time here, I thought I would share some of my favorite experiences I've had this semester.
1. Primrose Hill- Because my university is located in Regent's Park, walking around is the best way to get a little peace of mind and quietness from the busy city. The first few days I was in London I walked through the park to discover a giant hill right in the middle (something atypical in London). After climbing it, I discovered the most beautiful skyline of London. Everything from Big Ben to the London Eye to the Shard was visible- it was one of the most incredible first days of being abroad. I saw a majority of my city right in front of my eyes and the start of my journey finally felt real.
2. Germany- Whereas the mass amounts of beer and pretzels and singing Germans was pretty fantastic, what really got me was the juxtaposition I found myself in there. On the first day we were celebrating and laughing and having a great time at Oktoberfest, and the next, we were touring Dachau concentration camp. It just made me realize that there will always be beauty, but also tragedy in the world, and it is important to take notice of both.
3. The Beatles- I am a Beatles fanatic, and it seems that all of England is too. From walking Abbey Road in London, to going on the Magical Mystery tour in Liverpool, to seeing the John Lennon wall in Prague, you can say I was extremely happy. So Beatles fans of the world: come to London.
4. Madrid- Definitely my favorite trip this semester was to Spain. It is such a beautiful city with such a relaxed vibe- I wish I could have stayed longer than a weekend. My friend and I were able to experience the most delicious paella and Sangria, see a Flamenco performance in a small tapas bar, go to a local salsa club, and walk the entire city in two days. I definitely want to spend an extended amount of time traveling all the major cities in Spain at some point in my life.
5. The markets- London is filled with street markets and, my friends can contest, I was at one at least once a week. With an abundance of food, textile and jewelry vendors, flowers, street art, and vintage goods, there is always something interesting to see. More so, I found the markets to be the best places to find the most cultural diversity. You can see every type of person either selling their ethnic food or walking around. It is a great place to eat, shop, and people watch.
6. London Film Festival- the BFI London film festival took place in October and it was amazing to be able to attend an event I had only ever read about. Seeing films from every genre and from every part of the world (while even seeing some of the stars and directors) was every film major's dream experience.
6 countries, 12 cities, and 4 classes later, my journey has officially come to an end.
Next stop: SHU