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International Center

University of Missouri

Reflecting back and looking forward

Filed in Blog, Spain by on June 19, 2014

Well, I’ve come full circle. I’m writing this post from good ole’ English speaking, baseball cheering, hot dog eating Missouri. It’s amazing to be surrounded by my friends from home and all the great familiar things (normal tasting ketchup, ice water, my car, Chipotle), but there is a huge piece of my heart that didn’t quite make the flight back (my bag was at the 50 lb. limit, I had to throw something out… bad joke). Anyway, saying goodbye to my host parents and friends in Spain was one of the hardest things I’ve done in a while. I wasn’t only saying goodbye to the people and the place, I was saying goodbye to the semester’s experience that I will never get to relive. But what makes it okay is that I know that I lived this semester to its absolute fullest and wouldn’t trade a minute of it for anything… except maybe another minute.

So to whoever may be reading this: If you’re thinking about studying abroad, do it. If the idea of traveling in foreign countries for months of your life sounds a little scary, even better. Challenging yourself and pushing yourself outside your boundaries is the whole point. A lot of people have asked me if I’ve “changed” this semester. Well, no, I’m still the same Renee. But I do think I’ve grown in the sense that I’ve gained a broader understanding of what’s around me. The typical problems in my American college life seem minuscule, and the scope of what’s important just got a whole lot bigger. All I know for sure is that I’m not done traveling. Exploring Europe over the past semester has been the most incredible experience of my life, but I have so much more to see. This semester has given me the determination to work hard enough to travel more and go after every opportunity presented with an open mind. Although I could say right now that the past several months were “the best of my life,” I truly believe there is even better to come.

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