The Final Month: The Worst Part of Studying Abroad

Tuborg Tuesdays, a Tradition  

When I left Copenhagen last Friday, I felt this overwhelming sense of sadness. I looked outside and saw this amazing view of Denmark. I was sad because in less than a month, I will look outside that airplane window once again but at that very moment, it will be the final time. Sure, I can always come back anytime I want but it will never be the same. Things will be different. The friends I’ve made won’t be down there. Tuborg Tuesdays will no longer be a thing. Weekend trips to somewhere new and exciting will simply be weekends spent stuck on campus. And everything that has been meaningful will simply be just distant memories. The past three months has simply gone by too fast. As much as my close friends and my host mom has told me that there is no need to be sad right now, I can’t help but just be consumed by this desire for time to just slow down or wake up one day and it’s a cold and winter January morning with all the time left in the world to enjoy Copenhagen and be with my host family and my new friends, whom I’ve gotten very close to. I want to wake up on that one Tuesday morning where my homestay network ran around the city on a scavenger hunt, took our first squad photo in front of Nyhavn, and went to the Old Irish Pub for the first time. And with all the Tuesdays we all had, it’s just so sad to think that we’re running out of them and one day, I’ll wake up one Tuesday and it will just be a regular Tuesday. So I guess, Tuesdays will be the worst because it will be a consistent reminder of the good times while abroad.

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What’s Next?

And I guess what makes me sad the most is the fact that I’m scared of what’s going to happen after. Is it ever going to be this good? Is life going to be as exciting? As much as I am so blessed to have gotten my dream internship and I know that the 12 weeks I’ll spend in Texas this summer will be another adventure in itself, I’m still dreading the end of this semester. As I write this reflection, I am sitting at a balcony, as the sun is beautifully setting, the city and the Acropolis in the distance slowly starting to lit up, and feeling the cold breeze hitting my skin. Is life going to be this beautiful? I am literally looking out at one of the most iconic and historically significant building in human history on my own private balcony. Earlier today, I went on a culinary and historical tour through the traditional Greek markets. Last month, I was in a glacier and walked inside a waterfalls in Iceland. So I guess the worst part of studying abroad is not just the Tuesdays, but the extraordinary days like today.

Like I’ve said many times before this semester, I think I’ve peaked.

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What I’ll Miss the Most

Despite the days where my friends and I traveled to all these new and exciting places, strangely, what I’ll miss the most are simply the ordinary days. I’ll miss the Fridays when I wake up to catch the 9:09 train to Norreport, the countless times I buy a croissant at a 7-Eleven, simply walking around Old Town to check out new coffee shops, the times I take the train home back to Hillerod with friends and talk about absolutely nothing, the nights we watch Black Mirror, the dinners with my host family, that one morning I miraculously woke up early enough to make breakfast with Reggie, the times I’ve laid in bed and looked outside my window and keep wishing that I wish time would slow down because as much as that day have been as ordinary as it can get, that day was just as good as the extraordinary.

I’m Coming Home a Little Bit Different

As a natural optimist, I would like to end this reflection with a little positivity. It has been an incredible three and half months. Anyone who knows me knows that my face lights up every time I talk about Iceland. My best friend, Thomas, has told me “I’ve never seen you this happy before!” And I am comforted by the fact that I am coming home to America with a few new friends, some of whom, have become one of my closest friends. I am as excited to visit Anne in Iowa than I was excited to visit Barcelona. Maybe a stretch, but have you met Anne? She’s pretty cool. Funnily enough, all my closest friends at DIS are from places that I’ve actually never visited. 33 states later and as luck would have it, I met people that will bring me closer to the elusive 50 states visited status: Anne in Iowa, Josh in Indiana, Katie in Missouri, Jake in Minnesota, places where Southwest also flies to! Of course, except for South Bend because do they even have an airport? Josh and I can just meet Megan in Chicago since besides connecting through O’Hare, I’ve yet to visit the city with clearly a pizza that I know I won’t like. New York thin crust or nothing.

But of course, I’m also coming home with this new and profound sense of gratitude. Despite my fear of what’s going to happen next and questioning if life is ever going to be this good, as I look back in my life, life did become THAT good. When I graduated from high school, my parents and I took a six-week trip throughout Asia, visiting Japan, the Philippines, India, and the UAE, and I thought to myself “wow, I’ve peaked!” Three years ago, I got accepted to Syracuse University, my dream school and when I opened and read that acceptance letter, I thought to myself, “wow, this is the happiest moment of my life!” And last November, my friend Chris and I took a spontaneous trip to Shanghai and Bali and had the time of our lives. Of course, as some of you might know, that ended up being truly an unforgettable trip after being stranded because of a volcanic eruption and had to escape impending doom, and I thought to myself, “wow, is life going to be this unforgettable?”

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My Advice to Future Students

I’m sure someone will tell you to savor each moment because being abroad will feel like a blink of an eye, it goes by too fast. While this is true, I feel like that won’t be enough because as much as you try to enjoy each day and each moment, it’ll still feel like it went by too fast. And in many ways, that’s a good thing. The best things in life are so great because you know at some point, it will end and it’ll soon just be a treasured memory. So my best piece of advice is to simply study abroad. If you’re scared about being away for four months or being in a foreign country with a new culture and a new language, think about this: when is the next time in your life that you will ever have four months to travel, to meet new people, to experience something different each single day? You can always travel when you’re older but you only have one opportunity to study and travel abroad at the same time. There is no better time than now.

But in a more practical sense, my best piece of advice is: don’t pack too much. You think you will need something but you probably won’t. Take it from me who packed two giant suitcases. Listen to your mom.

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Closing Statement

Going to DIS was the best decision of my life, right next to going to Syracuse. I will look back to this moment in my life with an incredible sense of gratitude, happiness, and nostalgia. These are my glory days and I can not wait for another Denmark moment in my life, wherever life takes me. So in conclusion, the worst part of studying abroad? It eventually ends. But it’s also the best part…because it will force you to live each day with meaning and honestly, after four months of traveling and eating out, your wallet will thank you.

Peace out!

Jez

One thought on “The Final Month: The Worst Part of Studying Abroad

  1. Hi Jez,

    Wow – very good read.

    I hope you guys manage to arrange some reunions back in the states.
    A fun thing might be having a reunion in Elk Horn, Shelby County, Iowa.

    From Wikipedia:
    Elk Horn is known as an enclave of Danish ethnicity and is home to the Museum of Danish America.

    Maybe they will even have Tuborg 😀

    Kind regards,
    Michael

    Like

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