Good morning family and friends,
What an adventure this has been. I have been in England for five months and yet, this still isn’t the end. There is another entire portion of my adventure on its way. I want to tell you about what’s still to come and what I have learned. Let me start with my next trip.
As I previously mentioned, I have been planning a four week jaunt through Europe. I will land in Sweden on the first of June, where I will be staying with a friend for a short time. I haven’t seen her since before I left the U.S. and it will be a fantastic reunion! From there I will move to Copenhagen in Denmark by train, and then to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. By bus I will travel to Paris, France and Barcelona, Spain. I’ll hop on a plane to Naples, Italy. Pompeii, Rome, the Vatican City, and Venice are all a train ride away. Then to Munich for a night before spending another weekend in Nuremberg with a family friend. It is possible that I may visit her family as well before I depart to Berlin. However, Berlin is my final stop before I fly back to Sweden to recover. On the night before I return to America, I will depart for London one last time. I am very particular about being late and do not want to risk missing my 8AM flight. Finally, on July 10th, I will return to Austin to rejoin my life. I expect to have a fantastic time, but I am sad that I won’t be able to share any of it here.
Instead, let me tell you what I’ve learned. Isn’t that the whole point of studying abroad, after all? Broadening your horizons.
I’ve learned that I take a lot of things for granted—people in my life and their care, opportunities that I am not entitled to, simple things like having food and a roof. I recognize that it was partially my drive to succeed that got me here, but I also thought that I earned this. I worked hard all four years and now I should be rewarded. Seeing the world was something I deserved to do!
But was it? Yes, I worked hard for it, but there are so many students that would have more time and effort to take my place. Yet, I felt like it was my right. It takes a lot of tribulation to go from that mindset to being grateful. So that’s what I want to say: I am grateful to all of the people that helped me along the way, as much as I am grateful for this magical opportunity.
Oh, the people in my life that have done so much for me while getting so little in return. That’s the takeaway here. That’s the point I’m trying to make. I want life to be different when I return home. As I leave my Exeter behind, so too do I wish to give up the troubles, the negative thoughts, the self doubt, the ungratefulness, and the old way of life. I want to be so much more to the people that I love, and give back to those that don’t have the luxury of being in my shoes. As melodramatic as it may sound, this experience has really made me want to turn my life around. I want to care as much about myself as I thought I did about others.
But hey, I am twenty-two years young, graduation is upon me, and there is a whole world ahead to experience. Let this be a declaration for myself that change can happen. If you work for it, you can do anything.
What an adventure this has been. I am wishing you all well. When you see me next, know that I will be a new man.
We’ll see y’all later, friends! Hook ‘em!
This post was contributed by Julian Kadolph, a 2019 Global Ambassador majoring in English.
Don’t get left behind. Read more about Julian’s experience in England>>