June brought me many different emotions, a lot of goodbyes, and a lot of appreciation for the memories and lifelong friends that I now have. The last couple weeks of the semester were spent embracing every moment we had left in the study abroad world we had created, with the study abroad family that we formed. Classes ended, and the last gatherings began, starting with a wine tasting presented to us by our German teacher. We saw another town in Austria, and tasted wines with a delicious spread to accompany it. We also had one last night out in Vienna together, which brought us to our final shared meals as well. In the first week of our semester, my friends and I had dinner at a cute little Italian restaurant in downtown Wiener Neustadt called Luigi’s. On that day, we toasted and promised that we would attend again for a dinner in our final week abroad together. So, we did as promised and enjoyed a lovely dinner while reminiscing on the semester. After this, everyone began packing, rooms started to become empty as people left, and the dorm got quieter. Then came the day that my friends Jonna, Helen, Brayden, and Garin departed. I went with them to the airport and as I said goodbye to them promising that we would see each other again one day, I also said hello to my cousin Brandon who had arrived for our Europe travels for the final weeks in June.
Next, was saying goodbye to my roommate Sofi. We stayed positive through the whole departure preparation process ensuring each other that this was not the end of our friendship. We decided to be happy about all the amazing memories we made, and to be excited about what we have waiting for us, and the future visits to each other’s countries one day. We
embraced the end of this chapter and appreciated the fact that we had each other through our whole journey. Sofi became my sister, the most amazing roommate I could have ever asked for, from day one where we sat beside each other on orientation day. From when we both realized we didn’t have roommates, to becoming roommates, and best friends. I’d like to thank Sofi for being that person I could always count on, for being that person that ate the same as me, for splitting groceries with me and cooking together, for going to class with me, for going to the gym with me, for travelling with me, for going through the tough times with me, making the most of every day with me, and so much more. This experience would never have been the same without her.
So now I sit here in the Vienna International Airport, five months later trying to wrap my head around what life has been away from home for this time in Europe, and what exactly my final thoughts are. I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity to study abroad in Austria and to visit 13 countries, 12 of them being new. I am fortunate to have met so many amazing people, and to have had the chance to create my own little world with them. I feel that I have grown as an individual as well, going through the homesickness, some harder times, and so many amazing times that overpower it all. I learned how to travel and I conquered my travel anxiety, I learned so much about cultures and different countries in the world, and I learned that I can do anything I want to do in this world. I have stepped out of my comfort zone over the past five months, and I never could have done it without the endless amount of love and support from home. Whenever I felt alone during this journey, I was never truly alone.
I am honoured to have had the chance to write these blogs and share my experiences, and I’d love to thank everyone that has taken the time to read them and share my journey with me. I hope that I have inspired others to take on the study abroad challenge as well some day and to once again, step out of their comfort zone. You can be anyone you want to be in this world, and sometimes stepping out to see what the world has to offer can help lead you in that direction. For now, I am putting my homesickness to an end, and I am going back to Canada to all my loved ones waiting for me. I am so anxious and excited and nervous and sad to leave all at the same time. But I am ready for what is ahead of me, and I am so thankful that I have had this experience to shape me into who I am going forward. Next stop, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada!
P.S. Go study abroad. You won’t regret it.