The End of an Adventure Abroad

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.

"Agati and me enjoying our free pint of Guinness at the Storehouse bar, Gravity."

“Agati and me enjoying our free pint of Guinness at the Storehouse bar, Gravity.”

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 met a lovely family from Texas while trying to find the passage to L'Arc de Triomphe. This is me with their adorable daughter."

“I met a lovely family from Texas while trying to find the passage to L’Arc de Triomphe. This is me with their adorable daughter.”

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.