It has legitimately been way too long since I last posted. In that time, I celebrated my birthday, cooked my hall Thanksgiving dinner, received visits in Copenhagen from THREE of my best friends, did some last-minute exploring, and said goodbye to a place I thought of as a second home, as well as people that I still think of as some of my closest friends.
I also celebrated Christmas with my family, came back to school, and realized why I decided NOT to spend a year abroad.
I have no regrets about going abroad. In fact, I feel like the experience changed me for the better, in ways that were so subtle that I couldn’t perfectly describe them. But studying abroad takes work, in every way. It takes work to make meaningful friendships so that your experience is spent surrounded by people. It takes work to learn a city to the point where navigating feels like second nature. It takes so much work to get to the point where you feel happy and secure in a completely new place with completely new people.
By the end of my time in Denmark, I felt so grateful. I had seen 9 different European cities, made new American and Danish friends, and had experiences that I will always cherish. I saw all the tourist sites, found some local secrets, and gained 7 happy pounds. My friends and I managed to go to every place we had on our list, and at the end of my semester, I was content. But I was ready to go home.
After getting back to Vanderbilt, I realized even more that this is where I belong. For right now, this is where I need to be. This is where I’ve been for the past 2 years, this is where my friends are, and this is where I’ve made my most meaningful impacts as a student, a volunteer, and a worker. As much as I loved Copenhagen, and am already trying to figure out how to go back, I realized that for me personally, staying another semester would have led to the regrets I was lucky to avoid my first semester.