I honestly cannot believe that I’m sitting down to write my last blog article on the Italy blog. I’ve decided to continue blogging throughout the summer while I travel, but finishing my semester still feels like something of an end. And in just a few months it is—the end of my year abroad. I’m returning to Texas in July to catch up with my family before I head back to Washington, D.C. in the fall to complete my senior year of studies. Part of me is so ready to go home, and most of me just wants a week there before I head back here, to Europe. It’s hard to explain if you’ve never lived abroad, but in many ways it’s just like living at home—you get up, you go to school, you go to museums and spend time with friends. It’s just a different place. Just like living in DC is different than living in Texas. You can’t go home anytime you want to. So here I am—living out the end to my fabulous year abroad traveling for a few months. I leave in two days for Madrid, where I’ll set down my bags and promptly leave for Morocco with my near and dear (and only sometime frustrating 😉 ) friend Christina. A few days in Madrid when we get back and then I am going with her on her end of semester trip to Northern Spain and Portugal, and then off on my own to Egypt and to explore the rest of Europe.

It’s not exactly my dream trip. I mean, yes, it is, in a way, but no, I never imagined doing it all on my own. I mean, here I am, in Europe, with the opportunity to spend the summer here—how can I turn that down? But I never imagined doing it alone. Don’t worry Mommy—I’ll be safe. And the last month of my trip I’ll be in France, something I’ve been dreaming about returning to since I first journeyed there with Madame Douglass many years ago. I’ve got a basic plan and I’ll be planning as I go as well, booking hostels a few days out, checking train schedules, reserving seats if necessary. I’m thrilled to get to know Europe better, and this is an amazing way to do it—seeing the countryside.

I’ve learned so much about myself during my year abroad. I knew that I wanted a break from justice going in, but having so much time to myself has given me a great deal of perspective. I’ve learned about myself, my goals, where I see myself going in the future, and while it’s not entirely shaped, I’ve learned that I am okay with not having a set plan. I know where I want to be, and that’s enough, for now. I have my fall schedule set: classes, internship, live-in nanny job, etc. It’ll be a busy time, but I’m looking forward to finishing my senior year. One of the things I am really anticipating is the opportunity to work on my novel for my capstone during the fall semester and then examine publishing options for the spring. Ideally, I’d like to end up splitting time abroad and in the states while publishing and possibly editing in the future. So it’s an ideal opportunity, really.

When I started college I wasn’t even sure I wanted to study abroad. Now, having done it, I can’t imagine not. I strongly encourage anyone considering studying abroad to take the jump. It’s entirely worth it. Don’t let money, fears, or other priorities take away from this amazing, amazing experience. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Ciao, bellas. The summer blog is up and running at

http://thesongsingsitself.blogspot.com
I’ll see you in a few months!

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