As I sit at my computer typing this blog post, I can't help but feel shocked when I look at the date. Seriously though, when did it get to be March? Let alone mid-March? Have I really been in England for 2 months now?
Time is flying by so much faster here than it does back home. This weekend I'm headed to Berlin, though it will be my last weekend trip for awhile, which is in a way relieving because all of this back and forth from Bristol has been a little stressful. In just two weeks, I'll be headed off on the adventure of a lifetime: one month of nonstop travel with my parents and then my best friend. It's surreal that I'll be going to Ireland, Scotland, France, Italy, the Czech Republic and finally Austria in the span of 30 days - I feel so lucky to have this opportunity (Big thanks to UK higher ed for the month-long "Easter Break!")
My realization of how quickly time is passing has helped me to remember to try to enjoy every second of this experience. At this point, I'm feeling well-adjusted and acclimated to Bristol. The culture shock has worn off, and what's left of any 'homesickness' only creeps in when, for example, someone explicitly mentions California.
I still distinctly remember one day about 2 months ago now when my American friends and I were sitting in the local Bristol Starbucks, silently sipping our drinks. We were about 3 days in to our Bristol experience, and we were hating it. Starbucks was our safe haven of familiarity, but even there we didn't feel wholly comfortable. We were all simply too put off by cultural difference to let anything 'new' in. My friends and I look back at that time now and laugh, and it's great to see how far we've come. I am about as integrated as I could possibly be with my 10 English flatmates and I have even started incorporating a few British slang terms into my daily vocabulary!
When I was in Paris two weeks ago, I saw how different it was for my friend who is living with other Americans within her program. Although she obviously faces a language difference that I don't, I think that her experience would be so much richer had she been able to live with French students. I whole-heartily recommend any students considering studying abroad who are reading this to think about fully integrating yourself by stepping outside your comfort zone and choosing to live with non-Americans. My decision to do so has truly been one of the highlights of my study abroad experience thus far!
Until next time-