Maddi Brenner - Month Abroad
29 Sep 2016

A Month Abroad

By Maddi Brenner

Studying abroad isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. As much as we’d like to think that.

Exhaustion, really. That’s the word I’d like to use while explaining this week. Now, most of the time this word brings a negative connotation and sure, that’s true. I did have a very hard week, but it was also good in some ways.  As a student/ tourist/ foreigner, nothing seems to be stagnant. I’m either traveling on my own, studying in the library, going out to eat, making food at home, etc. There is always something: dramatic, interesting, intense, scary, traumatizing, chaotic, boring, minimal. Everything.

Honestly, I’d be lying if I said I have everything together or figured out while I’m here abroad. I don’t in the slightest. I am quickly running out of money, I lost my iPhone (basically my life), I lost my luggage at the airport and I’m pretty sure I have zero food in the fridge. That’s right people. I lost my iPhone 6 and my luggage in one week. A double-whammy. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m certainly out of luck or that life keeps trying to test me, but yeah, two very significant events happened to me. As I sit here writing, while in the back of my head, I know all the work I need to do, I realize that this is a true reality and I am actually here.

So here’s where I’m at with all this. Currently I am sitting in an Airbnb on the coast of Italy. I look up from my screen and see a beautiful landscape unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It’s basically one of those views you usually only get to see via Google Images. It’s a dream, really. I’m in the middle of a dream, yet struggling to cope with the fact that all my clothes, toiletries and camera are missing. Studying abroad is literally the definition of this. Bad things will happen amidst the beauty of a place, the un-real moments and the good. And I think it took me all this disaster to realize that my so-called vacation is also my reality. Reality will happen just like it does back home in the states.

Obviously no situation is ever completely ideal, but look, I’m alive. I’m surviving. I’m experiencing. And with all the stuff going on, I’m growing more than I ever could imagine because honestly, you can’t keep winning it all in Greece. Though I’d like to think you can, you can’t. There will be hard days that suck the energy out of you, to the point of exhaustion, and there will be easy days and good days and fun days and everything in between.

If you want to know the truth, studying abroad isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. As much as we’d like to think that and see it via social media. It’s not, but that’s the beauty of it all. I am still glad of where I’m at.

Maddi Brenner is pursuing a degree in Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in English and Profession Writing from DePaul University and is a official Fall 2016 CYA blogger!