After spending 5 months abroad in Germany, I am finally done with my travels and settled back home. My time abroad felt so short, and I already miss it and all the people I got to know. It honestly feels almost surreal to be back, from remembering I don’t have to pay cash everywhere to simple things like small talk in the grocery store. It is almost like reverse culture shock, after I had gotten so used to how things worked in Germany, that I am having to rewire my brain- again- to get back into the swing of things.

I would say the most notable thing about my time abroad- besides the school of course- was for the first time in my life I felt truly free. Growing up we have our parents, then school, then college to guide us; they provide safety nets as we figure things out. However, when you’re studying abroad, while there is always a support system from the school, I feel as if there isn’t as much “handholding” so to say. You get to explore, meet new people, figure out bureaucratic processes, everything on your own. It was such a sense of freedom that I never quite experienced on UA campus, and I felt I got to truly grow.

I met so many great people, and as the end of my program drew near, I had to start saying my goodbyes. I had made so many friends from so many places around the world, and while I will stay in contact with a few, I know there are many I might never see again. But it is nice to know that we shared this time in our lives and got to know each other when we could.

I would be lying to say I am not a little glad to be back, but I will always miss my time in Germany. I have to first graduate UA- in a month!- and I am starting to job hunt full-time. But I know from my time abroad, that it wasn’t my last time in Germany and I will one day be back.

Goodbye to the University of Mannheim!