1. I am competent and capable– Being thrown into a foreign culture forces you to figure it out. I’ve realized I have been underestimating my myself for most of my life. I can achieve more than I ever thought possible. I can navigate language barriers, transportation systems, cultural customs, academics, etc. If you dropped me anywhere in the world, chances are I would be just fine!
2. Balance– Wow, this is a biggie. I have learned the importance of balance in every day life, even if it means making sacrifices. Some weekends I had to say no to travel because my body was exhausted, and other weekends I had to push my body to the limit in exchange for an incredible travel experience. Sometimes I had to study less than enough because I needed to spend quality time with a friend in need, or vice versa. I have learned how to better balance (or juggle, maybe?) the different aspects of my life.
3. Confidence– I have always struggled with self-confidence, and it was at an all time low before I came to Heidelberg. This semester has taught me to open up and show my true colors. What I think and say matters, and is worth hearing. I will carry myself with confidence from here on out, trusting in the person God created me to be!
4. Appreciation of Home– the longer I spend away from home, the more American I feel. When I left, I didn’t think much of El Segundo, California, or America in general. It was just a place. Now I appreciate every little detail about home, because I’ve seen how things work differently around the world. While I deeply appreciate German culture, I have never been prouder to call myself a SoCal girl!
5. Family– I have learned that family is not only biological, it can also be spiritual. I can honestly call the 51 people I live with my family. They are not blood, but they are my people. I don’t know when or how it happened, but something just clicked one day and we became a cohesive group. I am leaving tomorrow for a month, but I know no distance or time can weaken our bond!