Studying Abroad with No Regrets! Jan14

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Studying Abroad with No Regrets!

 

annie bailey 5I think I could live in Europe forever. Europe holds a special kind of magic for me. From London, to Paris, to Spain, and back to Oxford, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

I spent 106 magical days in the fall of 2014 traveling to places I had only ever read about and imagined. I know I will miss Europe dearly, and the pain from leaving will smart for years to come, but this entire experience was well worth it, and I will carry the memories with me forever! It would be impossible for me to pick my very favorite trip of the semester. My favorites include Spain, Germany, Paris, and London. I loved

the beaches and culture of Spain, the atmosphere and Christmas Markets of Germany, the Eiffel Tower and the language in France, and the history and landmarks all over London.

Some of the best gifts ACU Study Abroad gave me were the memories, the lasting friendships, and a unique perspective of Europe and the world. Living in England for 15 weeks gave me the opportunity to see Oxford through the eyes of a resident, as opposed to seeing the city and country from the perspective of a tourist. I’m grateful for the gift of having a much better understanding of England and Europe. I know that now I have a better appreciation for cultures and countries that are very different from my own. I believe I am much less ignorant about the world as a whole just because I have seen a great deal more of it in the past 15 weeks than I ever had before.annie bailey 4

While all of these gifts are great, I think the best gift of all was how I was able to grow in my relationship with God. While I was so far from everything familiar, and I was traveling to new countries and encountering strange cultures, I could feel God’s hand of protection on me wherever I went. I had to hand over full control to God because He knew better than me what I was supposed to be doing. My faith was forever changed by my experience.

At the beginning of Study Abroad, I didn’t believe that I was independent enough to live in and travel around Europe without my parents. I was honestly very scared of the prospect of having to do everything myself such as cook, do laundry, and plan my own trips, and do all of that on top of time management for getting schoolwork done! But my curiosity to see the world, observe other cultures, and visit places that I have imagined and read about in school pushed me to commit to studying abroad. It was a decision I certainly do not regret!

Over the course of Study Abroad, I developed a love of travel, a craving for adventure, and an even greater appreciation of my own home country. It was difficult for me to face the fact that I was not able to do and see everything that I had hoped to while I was in Europe, but that only means that I have to go back again!