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Study Abroad Blog

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Things I've Learned and People I've Seen When I Left My Heart at Sea

{Yugen} : An awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and powerful for words.


As I have been sitting and contemplating how to wrap up this whirlwind of an adventure the past 4 months have been, I think of the word Yugen.

 Enjoyed the last couple days in the French Riviera hiking up Èze.

There really is not one way to encapsulate the journey that we have all been on. As cheesy as it sounds, I was a different person coming into study abroad than I am leaving. I have seen more of the world in a short amount of time than I thought I would. I have matured, experienced and learned to appreciate. I have “experienced” many different cultures through visiting different countries on the weekends and I have started understanding how to relate to people without knowing their language.
 CEA gets a visit from study abroad advisors and CEA directors.

Something that was really highlighted to me was that even when we did not share the same language, we share a lot of the same purpose. I found that most often, we are looking to connect with one another. To listen and love their stories and find connections. And to love all people because people shape who you are. With the 20 other CEA students, we have all become a family that watched out for one another. I know that even if some of us lose touch, we have created something special that was worth so much and that will never be forgotten. And to all the people you pass by on the streets, or the people who ring you up at the supermarket and don't know how to say the numbers in English, or the bus driver who is always late and drives too slow in traffic--those are all interactions you have with people who help shape who you are.
 First day with the CEA crew. Who knew how much of a family we would become.

As we all hugged each other and said our goodbye’s and too many of those cheesy, “It’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you later,” I no longer felt sad. Instead, I feel grateful to have been given the opportunity to meet such amazing people. And grateful to share a little slice of the world that no one from back home will understand. It's inevitable that I will reference Antibes and all my friends in inside jokes, and I will try and relate everything to this past semester. But the reality is that no one will understand. Studying abroad is like taking a break from your normal life and inhaling a breath of fresh air. It's like stepping foot into another world that only you and the other exchange students abroad will be able to share. And that's the beauty of it.
 Our little corner of the world, Antibes.
 Celebrating one of the last evenings together with
friends from around the world we made throughout the semester.

If I were given the opportunity to study abroad again, I would say "yes" in a heartbeat. If you have the slightest thought of studying abroad, just do it. Because when in your life will you be this young and receptive to learn? I hope that everyone decides to study abroad so we can find that connection together and share stories. Adventure is out there--it's your job to go seek it.
 Before I die: Travel the world

Bisous, Cici.


Cici Holmquist is the Fall 2015 MOJO Blogger in the French Riviera. She is currently a Sophomore at Point Loma Nazarene University.

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