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Conquering Your Doubts

December 30, 2016
by Chandler Stroh
I write this to anyone who is telling themselves they aren't brave enough to go abroad. I was in your shoes a year ago. Heck, I was in your shoes four months ago when I was packing to leave. I understand better than anyone that the prospect of being so far from home for so long is daunting, to say the least. It's terrifying. I'm that student that drives home from college every few weeks to recharge on mom's cooking and a decent shower. But I wouldn't do these last 16 weeks any differently.
 Just another weekend abroad: Flying over Switzerland.

As my time abroad comes to an end, I'm overflowing with bittersweet emotions. The thought of returning home to open arms and free water is intoxicating, of course. My mind drifts from thoughts of upcoming finals to the embrace of my family... and my queen sized bed. But as with any goodbyes, there's a sense of longing – longing for more time in a place so indescribable and close to my heart. No matter how anxious I am to go back home, I know I'll feel the same anxiety to return once I'm gone.
 Fall break well spent with endless beauty to see on the islands of Greece.

I've grown as an individual more so in these past four months than I would have ever believed. I've conquered my worst fears and done so much more than merely survive – I've thrived. I've soaked up sun rays in the islands of Greece and exhaled vapored breaths in the frigid air of Austria. I've met fascinating people and seen extraordinary sights. I've filled my stomach, and my heart, with some of the most delicious foods in the world.
 Gelato with a view: Venetian canals.

But most importantly, I've experienced more life-changing moments than I ever would have if I didn't have the courage to come abroad. No matter how happy or appreciative I am to go home, this will always be the most amazing experience of my lifetime. It will be yours too.
 A break from Italian food with burgers in Amsterdam.

Chandler S. is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO in Florence, Italy. She is currently a junior studying Graphic Communications at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Chandler Stroh is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO Blogger in Florence, Italy, and is currently studying at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
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