Last week, we submitted our big independent study projects and I can safely say everyone in our program looks incredibly relieved. The whole month of November was dedicated to research and it has finally come to an end. While the whole process was very rewarding, it was a new kind of challenge I hadn’t had to navigate before. While abroad, the academics have not been as rigorous as they are on campus. I found that balancing independent research and this flexible time period was a challenge that resembled student life for me back at GW. This time frame pushed me even harder to establish a temporary balance between research and leisure because there was still so much I wanted to see and didn’t get to earlier in the semester. Now, we’re in our presentation period and learning about each other’s presentations. It’s truly incredible to hear from my peers researching and pursuing their passions. I’m very pleased with the way the directors of this program organized presentation period because it allows students to showcase their wealth of knowledge on incredibly interesting topics that I would have not otherwise discovered. This does, however, mean that the program is coming to an end.
Saying goodbye to Switzerland is definitely going to be bittersweet. I’ve had an amazing semester abroad here and feel like I’ve made the most of all this country has to offer. Sure, the cost of living here is astronomically high, but there are ways to make it work while still having fun. I have met incredible people abroad and I look forward to keeping in touch and planning visits with them. The bonds we have been able to establish on such a short timeline are at a level I did not anticipate coming into the program. Traveling and studying abroad with my friends has only brought us closer and I can only wish everyone has the privilege of experiencing the wonders of friendship abroad. That’s not to say I don’t miss my friends back home. I think of them every day and we have kept in touch as much as our schedules have allowed. We count down the days and brainstorm all the things we’re going to do when I return.
It feels like it was just yesterday that I was meeting other students at the Nyon hostel for our orientation. Yet here we are… traveling, singing, dancing, laughing with and supporting each other. Soon, we will go our separate ways and back to the lives we temporarily left. I am both excited and nervous for the transitions of readjusting to DC life. One thing’s for sure though and that is I am forever grateful for the love, mentorship, support, and friendship during my time abroad and seek to carry these warm memories wherever my next adventures take me.