From Japan to Iceland, I’ve visited many countries, but none were as special as studying abroad in Norway. From meeting my fellow travelers on the first day I knew this was going to be a special journey. Every other time I’ve traveled internationally I have had the safety blanket of being with friends and family, but now I was in a foreign country with a group of strangers. The forced interactions made it easy to get to know my classmates and professors. There was a special camaraderie that grew as our tour guide made us all get to the train station 2 hours before the train, or when we switched from a fjord cruise to a bus, to a train, to another bus while dragging all of our luggage.

Before the trip started I knew no one in the group and had only tangentially heard of our instructor but by the 5th day, it was hard to imagine going on the trip with anyone else. At the half-point mark in the trip, I realized that going on this study abroad trip was like removing the training wheels on a bike. Every time I was always with people that I knew very well, but they served as a crutch preventing me from ever truly feeling like I was independent. Going on this trip has made me feel a certain level of independence and responsibility I have never experienced before. So far this trip has helped me grow in so many ways and I am excited to see how much I have changed by the end of this trip.