Squires: A final reflection on a semester abroad

By Taylor Squires

Before I start writing columns concerning anything else, I’d first like to write one last piece about my semester abroad.

Even as I type this out, the fact that my exchange has come to an end is such a bizarre feeling to me; it seriously feels like I landed in Sweden yesterday.

I remember my mom sitting in the kitchen and telling me that five and half months would pass in the blink of eye. Although there was a part of me that knew that, I didn’t exactly want to believe it.

When I first returned home to Canada, I mostly told funny stories about all of the crazy things that happened to me while I was abroad, and mentioned a few things about school here and there as I gave out souvenirs.

Now, I want to take the time to talk a little bit about what I’ve gone through personally in the last couple of months. I feel like it could provide some insight to those who are thinking of participating in an exchange program or maybe to those who plan on spending a significant amount of time abroad.

I’ll start by saying this: do it. Seriously. Don’t over-think it, don’t worry about how much money it’s going to cost, just go.

I think the one thing that people tend to forget about spending time abroad is that it is an investment. There is a quote by an unknown author that says: “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” This could not be more accurate.

I’ve had a multitude of amazing experiences over the past five months and I could not be more grateful: my time aboard has enabled me to grow in so many ways. I’d now much more modest, I’ve learned how to be more understanding, and I’ve come to realize that in the past, I wasn’t as appreciative as I should have been.

I’ve also learnt that I have a strong disposition and that I can get myself out of any sticky situation (bed bugs in Stockholm, having my wallet stolen in Russia and practically getting hypothermia in Germany… just to name a few).

Exposing yourself to new cultures is also extremely important. To put it simply: the world does not revolve around you or your Instagram account. Travelling the world will show you this and you’ll be happy that it did.

So if you are waiting for a sign, this is it. Take a road trip, book a flight, study abroad, do whatever you want to do. Life is short and there is a lot to see.

Photo supplied.
Photo supplied.