I find myself here packing up my things and I honestly can't imagine how it's time to get prepare to leave already. I've done so much this semester, seen so many things and had so many new experiences, that looking at myself now I can tell there's a difference between who I am and who I was when I arrived. That girl was a tangle of nerves and uncertainty, and now I feel so much more confident in myself and in my faith, as well as so much more enriched by experiencing another part of the globe. It's an experience like no other, and I couldn't feel more blessed to have had such an opportunity.
I've been kind of MIA from this for over a month because I was exploring the rest of the United Kingdom and Ireland. I took as many pictures in three weeks as I have the rest of the semester combined, and it's a bit surreal to me that I've gotten to go all of those places- London, Bristol, Bath, Cardiff, Inverness, Loch Ness, Stirling, Edinburgh, Dublin, Galway, and the long stretches of landscape in between. I met a myriad of new people from all over the world and saw places that some people only dream of visiting. It wasn't all butterflies and rainbows, of course, with chilly nights, strict money management, missing buses, getting lost, and getting sick. I'm happy for those parts, too, though, because if anything is a really good test of faith, traveling troubles are; like this whole semester, really, it truly was through God's grace that finding solutions to our problems were possible.
If anyone ever asks me, I would hands down recommend studying abroad. If not that, then just travel in general. You don't realize just how much more there is out there until you do; now that I've had a taste, I can't wait until I can head back out and see some other corners of the map. Study abroad makes seeing more places and spending more time, as well as learning more about the culture, more possible than simply traveling does. It also provides a setting where you grow and discover things about yourself almost as much as you do about where you are staying. Still, though, even if it's just a trip for a week or two weeks, it is an intensely beautiful and astounding world we've been given, and if the opportunity presents itself, I can't imagine not taking the chance to explore it.