A tropical Christmas fast approaches and rests in my heart in a cozy way. In my last week I have visited the extensive flora shops to see rows of poinsettias in the sweltering humid heat — and I laugh to myself at the ride that has been the past few months. It’s strange to think that I had spent the past three years of my life in the frigid midwestern winter, nose hairs freezing and knuckles cracking under excessive Chi-berian climate, and here I stood in December of 2017 in shorts and a shirt, looking at poinsettias in a greenhouse.
This semester has passed by me at the perfect speed. Not too fast, not too slow, and it allowed me to grow without feeling rushed. Everyday felt full, and meaningful, and in every moment I felt grateful for the time that I was able to spend here. It is strange to think that a few months abroad can generate so much affection, affinity, and attachment to a place and its people. To think that I have to leave so soon is daunting, perhaps more so than how I felt as I prepared to come to Singapore leaving Evanston.
I think generally for those who are participating in study abroad programs, the impression may be that they have a semester more relaxing in nature in a foreign place in which they can enjoy themselves and have a lovely time. But I more than ever want to emphasize that studying abroad is no easy journey. It’s a curriculum in and of itself that students have to live and breathe through, and in living through it grow from in often difficult and painful ways. I’m happy to know that I have completed my program here and have gained so much insight and learning through it.