Mel in Chile: Is it really over?

Is study abroad really over? Well I didn’t have time to ponder on this question for too long. I left Santiago early on a Saturday morning. About a month ago my parents bought me tickets to visit my family in Europe. You cannot imagine my excitement!

So the reason I didn’t have much time to be melancholy about leaving my beloved Santiago was because in five days I was going to board a plane to London to visit my family! What’s more, two weeks after that I would board another plane to Albania to see the rest of my family. You can imagine on our goodbye dinner my emotions were a bit confused. I was extremely sad to leave my life in Santiago behind. On the other hand, I was absolutely ecstatic to see my family. Now that I have arrived in England, and am sitting in this lovely café in Reading, I feel I finally realize that yes it really is over. I will go back to Richmond on January 11th, not Santiago. To be completely honest, I am looking forward to going back to Richmond more than I can express in words. I think after working abroad in the summer in the Dominican Republic, and later studying abroad in Chile, I am looking forward to going back to a familiar and comfortable setting.

I am also a bit anxious. Even though I am coming back to a “familiar place” I wonder if it will be hard to adjust, if I will miss life abroad. When I get back I will dive into a full course load of core business classes. Registration was not too kind to me this semester. I have 8 am classes Mon/Wed/Fri and 9 am classes Tues/Thurs. I sometimes get worried I will be overwhelmed. When I think of all of this I seriously criticize myself for denying myself the opportunity to study abroad another semester in Santiago. It is at this precise moment that I realize why I initially decided to come back to UR.

I came back for the academics, for the resources we have (career center, center for civic engagement, common ground, free tutoring), to have access to professors and other mentors I have at the University, to spend more time with my friends. Most importantly I came back because I am excited to look for the ways I can become more involved in the Richmond community at this point in my academic career. Studying abroad helped me understand who I am and what I care for. I am looking forward to re-entering the Richmond community (both UR and the city of Richmond) as someone a bit different than when I left.

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I will finish this blog the same way I started it. This is a picture of Santiago as seen from the top of Cerro San Cristobal

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