This post is the final installment from Allie Press who spent her Spring 2015 semester on exchange at Falmouth University in Falmouth, England.
I am in my last days in Falmouth, UK, and of course now I get sick. Though, I suppose now is the best time since I have no schoolwork or anything to get done. I’ve been spending as much time as I can with my friends here and doing a few last things. It’s been difficult saying goodbye to all of the friends I have made. They welcomed me into their circle and made me feel like a part of the gang. Without them, I would not have enjoyed my semester here nearly as much. I went through some hard times while here and they helped me through them.
To take advantage of the ease of travel I took a few trips this last month. First off, I went to Dublin, Ireland with my friend Agati from my acting course. We spent three days there and had a really great time. Dublin reminded me a lot of New York City. It has some beautiful gardens mixed in with the shops and restaurants, and it can be super tourist-y. However, if you listen to the locals you can find great pubs and restaurants that are more authentic. While in Dublin, Agati and I stayed at Jacob’s Inn, a hostel within walking distance from everything you’d want to see. It was clean and friendly. I highly recommend it. My favorite places that we went were St Stephen’s Green, Marion Square, and the Guinness Storehouse. We were really lucky with the weather and spent a whole afternoon sunbathing at St Stephen’s. After Ireland, I went to Paris, France by myself. I was definitely nervous going on a trip alone, and for four whole days, but it ended up being amazing. The weather was hot and sunny the whole time I was there, which I loved. It’s still quite mild here in Falmouth so it was actually great getting a little sweaty. I pretty much spent my entire trip between museums and parks, which was exactly what I wanted. The last time I was in Paris I was with family and we were so focused on hitting all of the tourist spots that we didn’t get too much time to relax. So I wanted to simply enjoy my time in the city and get to whatever I happened to get to. The first night I was there I spent too much time at the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle that I wasn’t going to make it to La Cinémathèque française so I made the snap decision to go see a play. I didn’t understand everything, but it was still cool seeing theatre in another country. Quick decisions like that were what made traveling alone so great. I was able to be completely selfish and simply do whatever I wanted to do. I would recommend a trip alone to anyone, especially if you are going through a change in your life. I wrote in my journal everyday while I was in Paris. It felt good to have some solitude to reflect.
I know I am not going back to the States the same person I left. I like to think I have improved during my time here. Meeting new people, traveling always expands your horizons, and I think that kind of worldly view is important. It helps us to think outside of ourselves. I’ve been happier here than I’ve been in a year. Sometimes it takes being a continent away from all of your problems, past or present, to gain some perspective and learn about yourself. While in abroad I’ve been reminded how much I love nature, how happy I am spending a day lying in the grass in the sun. I won’t forget that. When I get home I am going to make sure to visit parks and spend time outside more. While abroad I learned to cook, I’ve become addicted to the gym, and I’ve overall become a more relaxed person. I am immeasurably grateful for this experience and I know I’ll be leaving a piece of my heart here in Falifornia.