Author: Catherine Camara
Program: International Business
Study Abroad Location: Bavaria, Germany
I don’t like to say goodbye, nor have I had the bittersweet chance of saying goodbye to so many influential and important people at one time. I use the word bittersweet heavily as saying goodbye was one of the saddest things I have ever had to do, but I love that these six months abroad could bring such joy and wonder into life. The end of your semester is another influential part of your experience here. On your own you will have to manage passing all exams, packing up, moving out, saying goodbye to your abroad family and arriving back at home (in one piece).
So you did it. You made it through all your exams with confidence and now you are well on your way to closing on a fabulous 6 months. After exams finish, you will feel like a 200kg weight has somehow been lifted from your shoulders; only to be placed on your heart once you realize what the end of exams actually means. You’re done here. It’s over. This incredible life you have been sharing with the amazing friends you’ve made is coming to an end. The exciting feeling of being on your own, free, and alive is turning into an anxious and unsure knot in your stomach.
In the last month I came to realize how important my friends were, how much I had seen, and how much my time here has inspired me. During the last two weeks my friends and I tried to spend as much time together as we could. Since exams were over we seized each day into night. A lot of us had bought t-shirts or German flags so that we can all sign and write stories as our own memory of our time here. We would wake each other up for breakfast, spend days at the lake, playing sports, swimming and plan trips for August on our way home. We kept ourselves busy with each other and made the most of our last moments.
Despite making plans to reunite in the distant future we knew what the ugly truth was, it was never going to be the same. There will never be a time in our life where we will all be together again at Wiley in Neu-Ulm, 21 years old and soaking up life for all it has. This for me was the hardest part.
Moving out was made quite seamless for international exchange students. Your representative at your University abroad will provide you with a checklist of tasks you must complete with appropriate signatures before you officially leave the country. If you plan on leaving as soon as exams finish like I did; you may have to request your checklist ahead of time and plan ahead. Some of these tasks include:
– Appointment with your landlord
– Check out at the residency office
– Return your student card
– Clean your apartment (It should look like the day you moved in)
– Don’t forget to say Goodbye (Teachers, friends, neighbors. It’s important)
After some tears, best wishes and many “see you later” (no goodbyes) I was out of Germany after 6 crazy, beautiful months. I highly suggest making use of your trip home and seeing as many other countries as your wallet will allow. Fortunately, my friend Chloe and I were able to meet in Munich and travel for 6 weeks before returning home. We hit countries like Croatia, Bosnia, Spain and Portugal. This was a great idea to help ease myself into returning home. It gave me something to be excited for while I was finishing exams.
The best advice I can give to anyone may sound unoriginal and over used but I cannot over express how organic these words are: Take every opportunity that comes your way. Experience everything and make use of your time here. Be spontaneous and creative. Save as much money as you can before your exchange, work hard and then spend it all on the experience. It’s truly your world to explore. This is not a time for regrets.
Catherine Gago Da Camara