One second you’re boarding a plane to begin a semester of a lifetime, and the next you’re back on that plane kissing your abroad home goodbye. No one can prepare you for the bittersweet feeling felt when you take one last walk through the place that’s become your second home for the past few months. All the relationships made and cherished times you spent in between the walls of a classroom, a homestay, or even a bar are now going to become memories.
If you have a country or continent away from home that makes saying goodbye so difficult then consider yourself pretty lucky. This past semester you probably went through ups and downs, times where you felt on top of the world, and others where you felt completely lost. I bet you would give anything to have those panic moments or homesick nights back, just so you can relive some part of your abroad experience.
If you relate, you are definitely lucky.
As you know, being abroad is life-changing. You have grown as a person and learned more about yourself. Not only did you get to live in a new place for half of a year, but you also got to explore places much greater than what you’ve been limited to before. Take every lesson you’ve learned good or bad, and grow from it. When you zip your suitcase or board the plane, remember all the good that has come from the life you have adapted to, because this is important.
It’s exciting getting to go back home for the holidays, I know. And if you’re feeling anxious to be home like you’ve had enough of being away, it’s completely normal. I know you may be at your limit and time to board the plane home cannot come fast enough, but before you go, don’t forget the little things. Whatever your tradition may be in your town, like looking at the Christmas lights, sitting by the river, or getting your favorite food, remember to take in every second of what will soon become a piece of your past. While the days may not go forgotten, remember to still cherish them in the moment while you still can.
Although it’s time to pack your bags and say goodbye, the memories, friends, and stories you made will travel far beyond the borders of the country you are leaving.
There’s no better reward in the world than the feeling you receive from the last goodbye to your home away from home. This may sound crazy, but how lucky are you to have something so great that makes saying goodbye so hard?