As my return date gets closer, I can't help but reflect on the four months I've spent in Malta.
This semester has impacted me beyond measure. Never before have I gone this long from visiting home or even lived more than an hour's drive away from my hometown. Within four months I've criss crossed through Europe and flown on more planes that I can count.
After so much traveling it seems only natural that airport layovers, language barriers and foreign curriences have become a norm. I've gotten so used to changing time zones and adapting to other cultures. At this point I feel that I'll experience more culture shock upon landing in the United States than what I feel now.
Malta has become a new home. It absolutely amazes me that I can navigate the country without a map (but I still do rely on the Malta bus app). The high rise apartment buildings and hotels that tower over the coastline don't intimidate me at all anymore. I finally have adjusted to living in a city! Malta looks small on the map but is so dense. Each town blends into another but I've learned how to manage the sprawling concrete jungle.
Although I'm not exactly sure what my last week abroad will entail, I do know that I plan on embracing each moment. I don't want to feel the weight of a ticking clock but I also want to make sure that I invest my time wisely. Without a doubt I know it will fly by quickly, much like this semester has as a while.
I'm not ready to leave, but I am happy to be going home.
When I look back at my semester abroad, I feel content. Malta has grown to be apart of me. Cliche as it is, I've also discovered a lot about myself and how I enjoy spending my time. I was able to make my own schedule (besides classes at the University) and develop new interests. I've fallen more in love with traveling than I was when I took off in Feburary. I've learned to be patient with myself and others (specifically public transit and delayed flights!)
Although I'm leaving in just a week, I know that these experiences will stay with me forever. My semester abroad will influence my thoughts and decisions and continue to transform who I am. My perspectives have evolved and so have I.
That's why saying goodbye to Malta and my time abroad won't be filled with sadness. I'm grateful for the time I've had and am excited to share my adventures with others. Hopefully I be spark a desire to travel and learn in those around me- hopefully they too will take a leap of faith and journey abroad.