The best part about coming home from abroad is also the hardest part: reuniting with friends and family, professors and peers.

“How was abroad?” They ask, sometimes because they care, sometimes because they feel obligated to, other times because they don’t know what else to say.

“How was abroad?” It’s such a simple question. Three words, four syllables– the simplicity of the question warrants a simple answer. The problem with that simple question is that there is no simple answer. There is no easy answer. There is no right answer.

When people ask that question, regardless of their reasoning behind asking, they don’t want the scoop on the entire four months, so you answer with “it was good/ amazing/ great/ incredible!” You answer excitedly with some sort of positive adjective, and then the conversation moves on in a different direction.

That’s the problem with that question. How can I possibly sum up four months worth of traveling, experiencing, wandering, thriving in just a single adjective, when I can’t even gather the words to describe it in a sentence, a paragraph, a blog post, or a personal essay? There are hundreds of thousands of words in the English language, it’s been over a month since I returned home from Italy, and I still cannot string the right words together to even begin to write accurately about my experience.

Good, amazing, great, incredible: a semester in Europe was most certainly all of those things. But it was much more than that.

Sitting alone in a cafe tucked away on a Florentine side street, sipping a cappuccino, indulging in a Nutella filled croissant, and writing a paper for a class.

Watching the sun set over the city of Florence from Piazzale Michaelangelo.

Talking with local Florentines at a cafe or bar because they wanted to practice English and I wanted to practice Italian.

Hiking mountains in Cinque Terre, Barcelona, and Switzerland, and looking out at the magnificent views ahead.

Learning how to pronounce my Croatian last time with a Croatian accent in Croatia.

And more.

Yes, you could say my time abroad was good, amazing, great, and incredible. But it was much more than that. So much more.

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