Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Every Ending is a New Beginning


A lot has happened within the past two weeks. I finished my exams and have enjoyed the now-pleasant weather that has come with summer "vacance" (though the chill in the air is comparable to springtime back home). Now, I sit in my bare-bones dorm room, writing to you one last time from France. My semester here has come to an end, and in an hour, I will leave the place I have called home for the past few months. The is a bittersweet time for me, because I know I will miss this place-and not just that. The people I've met during my time here have been the best part about studying abroad.

Whether it was international students like me, or native French people, I have come to know and love such a diverse group. As we all return to our little corners of the world, I see a piece of myself also returning to those places, and one day, I hope to follow my heart to every single one of those countries.

My adventures here in Europe are far from over. I will be attending my first French music festival this weekend, and then, I will fly off to Rome for a few days of solo travel. As this is my first time traveling alone, I am both quite nervous and excited. Whether or not I am able to write a blog about that last little adventure, I know that, come the fall semester, my heart will be gushing with tales to tell and memories to relive as I assume my position as Study Abroad Ambassador Co-Chair.

I am so lucky to have gained such a position that will allow be to work with I-House and be involved with my fellow students, so, for those of you attending Maryville College this coming year, I encourage you to ask me your questions about my own study abroad adventure or about what you can do to follow your heart on your own adventure abroad.

When I first arrived here, I was scared, but one of my classmates, a girl from China, did not see my fear. When learning that I had come to France by myself, she remarked that I had a "muscle" heart. I do not feel as though there was much courage in me, but pushing through the fear, I now understand that what I did was courageous, but also, necessary.  I remember using this quote by Judith Hanson Lasater to get me through:
"Which do you want: The pain of staying where you are, or the pain of growth?"

I have grown in my time here. I have no doubt of that. So, now I ask you the same question: "Which do you want: the pain of staying where you are, or the pain of growth?"

Embark on your own adventures, whether within your city, state, country, or world. Do it. In this, you will finally "Vivre Libre" (Live Free).

I now say "Au revoir" and hope that, if nothing else, I have shown you the beauty of travel, of people, and of life itself.

 -Albrianna Jenkins