With only six days remaining until I fly back across the pond, there is still one thing left to do. I have been putting it off for as long as possible, but the time has come (cue dramatic pause) for me to pack.
I guess packing could be considered a sort of adventure in itself. Trying to fit all the contents of a more than four-month long exchange program into two suitcases is quite the challenge.
As I begin cleaning out my desk drawers, I find old train tickets, boarding passes and other reminders of the many experiences I’ve had over the semester. I cannot help but become a little reminiscent as all of the unforgettable memories flood back to me.
Looking at these mementos, a familiar study abroad quote comes to my mind: “An exchange is not a year in your life, it is a life in a year.”
I first saw this quote when I had just arrived in Liverpool back in January. It was hanging as a decoration in my flat mate’s room.
I remember wondering if I would actually feel as if I had had a lifetime of experiences when I finished studying abroad.
Now, being at the end of my exchange program (sniff sniff), I can truly say that I do. This home away from home has taught me more about myself than any other experience could have.
Before coming to Liverpool, I was unsure about so many areas of my life. This experience has built my confidence in decision making and being less dependent on others.
My solo travels have allowed me to become comfortable with being completely alone and even lost. I have realized my strength as an individual and how to fully stand on my own, which is the greatest feeling.
Not only has Liverpool helped me find my independence, but I now have a greater appreciation for everyday aspects of life. I have realized how content I am with coffee in my hand and a beautiful view in front of me. I am more grateful for the kindness of random strangers and the feeling of being home again after a long journey.
Traveling has opened my eyes to how grateful I am for the friends I have made here and my family back at home. I am incredibly excited to return and share all the stories of my adventures with them.
Although I do not know how to say goodbye to the international family I have made here, I know I will see them again someday. They have been my support system through this experience and I am so thankful for that.
Lastly, I am incredibly proud of myself for taking advantage of this crazy, life changing experience abroad.
There was a lot of hesitation and unanswered questions when I decided to join in on this adventure, but I am so happy I did. Every second has been a whirlwind of first times and life lessons that will impact me for the rest of my life.
So, thank you and farewell Britain. I promise I will come visit again soon.