My final weeks in Copenhagen after my last blog were amazing. The weather was still cold, but there was plenty of sunshine and two of my friends came to visit. I finally went to Tivoli, the amusement park I had heard so much about. It was so much fun, and I was so shocked at how clean it was! It was nothing like Six Flags or Busch Gardens like I expected. Visiting all of my favorite restaurants was also a fun way to say goodbye to the city. I especially miss all of the brunch plates that seemed to be offered at every restaurant.
After being home for a couple of weeks and reflecting on my experience with all of my close family and friends I can honestly say it was life changing. I traveled to 10 countries in 4 months and got to see some of the most beautiful sites. I also met unbelievable people and friendships that I will cherish for a lifetime. It is surreal to think this all happened in only one semester and I feel so blessed every time I think about it. First I want to thank my parents for allowing me to go on this adventure because it wouldn’t have been possible without their support. They are truly amazing and have allowed me to explore the world far more than they both have. I am also extremely thankful to UVa and the Comm School for setting me up in such a great program and allowing me to take my classroom overseas.
I honestly can’t believe my time abroad is coming to an end. I have one week left in Copenhagen and it is surreal that I have been living here for 4 months. I think I am ready to go home, but not ready to leave this amazing place. Of course I am excited to see all of my family and friends but I am also sad to say goodbye to all of my new friends here in Denmark. It is crazy to think that in 4 months I have made such lasting friendships and I cant believe that I might never see some of them again. Obviously I will stay in touch with them, but we will never have the chance to live together for an entire semester together again. We’ve shared so many incredible memories together, and it is sad to have to say goodbye so soon. I am also having a hard time letting go of this new home I have created here in Copenhagen, and the community I have immersed myself in. A community I have come to deeply appreciate through the horrible accident that has just occurred. No one could have imagined such a horrible thing to happen to two of our own in this DIS community but when it did we all looked to each other for support. I have found myself having conversations with my new friends far deeper than some that I have had with friends from home. The boat accident really shook the community and it truly showed how great this community is. I am so thankful for this amazing experience to have brought me together with all of these amazing people.
For my 6th post I’d like to start to write a HEC how-to guide that I wish I had before coming here. There are about of things about HEC itself that I wish I knew earlier. The first thing is that HEC Paris is actually 1.5 hrs away from Paris by train and about 30 min by car. The cheapest way to get to the city is by the Savac shuttle (HEC only), but the hours can be weird. Next cheapest is the RER trains, uber pool is good if you are going with a friend, or uber x for bigger groups. There is also a HEC Facebook group, where you can request a ride, or respond to an offer for a few euros. Also, if you plan on traveling in Europe, don’t book a flight with Ryanair because it only leaves Paris from Beauvais, which is SUPER expensive and time-consuming to get to.
My return home has not been as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. I have only been home 9 days but it feels like forever. I thought it would feel really weird to be home but it honestly has not. Besides being a bit bored, I’m not sure I have really processed the fact that I lived in Copenhagen for four months and now I am home. I think I am still experiencing the initial excitement of being home and seeing everyone I missed.
After reading my letter, pretty much everything that I thought would happen did end up happening. I learned a lot about entrepreneurship and corporate impact strategies in school, I didn’t pick up that much Spanish, I saw a lot of people pronouncing their “S’s” like “C’s”, and I traveled a lot. One of the things that did surprise me is something I wrote about in my last blog post, which is that Spain and other European countries are not as unified as they seem. A thing that I and my parents are still shocked about is the immense amount of money that I spent on this trip. One thing I will say is that if I could do this whole thing again, I would definitely budget my money a little better.
It is amazing how quickly the semester has flown by. I have less than a week left in Denmark, and I feel like I just arrived! As I reflect on the past four months, I am so grateful for the time I have spent in Europe. Saying goodbye will definitely not be easy. In one of my classes we have discussed endings all semester, so this week we focused on ending this abroad experience. The teacher suggested that we visit all of our favorite places a final time to say goodbye. With under a week left in this amazing country, I am struggling to narrow down all of the places in Copenhagen I want to visit before I go.
It’s been a week since our classes ended. My flight leaving Spain isn’t until May 17th, so I’ve got another ten days or so until I head home. I have, of course, taken this free time as an opportunity to do some last minute traveling while I’m still here in Iberia.
These first few days off I’ve spent with my mom, who’s come to accompany me in my travels. This is her first time in Spain, so I’ve been taking her on a “highlights” tour of Spain–Madrid, Cuenca, Valencia, and Barcelona over ten days.
I have been home for nearly a week now, and have had time to reflect on my semester abroad. I arrived in JFK with mixed emotions- sad to be leaving my home and new friends in Barcelona, but excited to come home to the things I am used to. I wondered around JFK, killing time before my connecting flight, feeling a sense of relief that the voice over the loud speaker was talking in English, I could read all of the newspapers and magazines, and prices were in dollars. It was refreshing to walk into a store and not have someone glance at my hair color and height (I am six feet tall) and immediately know I was a tourist.
I’m leaving tomorrow!!! How scary is that? It feels like these four months absolutely flew by and I haven’t quite wrapped my head around the fact that I’m actually going home. My bags are packed, my room is clean, and I had my last dinner with some of the best people I’ve had the pleasure of spending four months with. I’m excited to go home and see my family, sleep in my own bed, and get into a routine; however, I’m not so keen on leaving Copenhagen. I’m not sure the next time I’ll be back and I feel like I’m scrambling to say goodbye to everything I love so much here.