It was exactly one month ago (May 16th) that I arrived back home in America. The greatest adventure so far of my life had come to an end. Being home has been great, but I often miss England. I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my experience studying abroad. This may not apply to everyone, but it is my personal experience and things I did and learned.
Prior to studying abroad at Wroxton, I had never left the country. Then, after 15 weeks abroad, I ended up visiting six countries: England, Scotland, Spain, Italy, France, and Wales. (Some of my friends visited as many as 10 countries!) In addition to the many countries I visited, I saw many cities in England including Manchester, London, Brighton, Bath, Liverpool, Cambridge, Oxford, Portsmouth, and Stratford to name a few. I went from a guy who hardly left New Jersey to an adventurer traveling all around Britain! My point is that anyone can travel as long as they have a heart for adventure and are not afraid of being surrounded by new environments.
Before I left to England, I had only ridden on an airplane twice! Fast forward a little and here I am on Spring break taking 4 airplanes in 9 days. By the way, airlines over there are super cheap! For example, my friends and I took an airplane from Bergamo, Italy to London for £14 ($20) It is not always that cheap, but sometimes you catch some really great deals, especially when flying with Ryanair.
My time spent abroad helped me to realize that I could do so much more than I ever thought I was capable of. (Like doing my own laundry!) Being with your friends off on your own, exploring cities that you’ve never been to, forces you to become more independent and responsible. You have to find your own transportation, book where you want to stay, find somewhere to eat, or decide to buy groceries and actually cook your meals.
When I arrived at Wroxton, I literally did not know anyone that well at all. 41 students who stepped off the plane and barely knew anyone’s name. Yet, by the end of the semester, we left as a family. Many formed friendships that will, no doubt, last a lifetime.
So now, after being home for a month, I realize the many things I miss. I miss being able to walk outside of my room and knock on someone’s door to see what they are up to, or just hang out. I miss being able to find people to go outside and play frisbee, volleyball, or soccer out on the lawn. I miss traveling every week to new places, and photographing beautiful European architecture. I miss exploring castles that are hundreds of years old. I miss playing guitar at the bonfires and singing with my friends. I miss having tea time twice a day and eating those delicious pastries/cookies. I miss my professors and the amazing staff there, as well as their awesome British accents! And I can’t forget the obnoxiously loud maids who woke us up in the morning to change our towels and garbage. I miss the nights dancing with my friends. I miss trying new foods, and going to pubs. (Not to get drunk)
But it’s alright, because I got to do those things! I did not watch them in a movie or see it on the internet, I actually got to climb the Eiffel tower, visit Stonehenge, and see Venice. One quote that I love says: “Don’t cry that it’s over, smile because it happened” and that’s exactly what I’m doing. England will always have a special place in my heart. These will be the stories that I tell my kids one day. The times I spent studying abroad.
I also have a new appreciation for the everyday things I took for granted. As beautiful as the Eiffel Tower was at night, or exploring the city of Madrid was, New Jersey has always been my home, and no city can ever replace the amazing family and friends I have back home.
I thank you all for taking the time to follow my journeys and reliving them through my photos.
I leave you all with this, a video I made that shows some of the amazing places I got to travel to and my incredible experience abroad.