I can not believe that I am back home in Nepal writing my final blog post. The last 6 months have been a complete roller coaster ride, to say the least. Like everything in life, you only appreciate what you have until it is taken away from you! Looking back, although I felt like I had so much free time, I find myself missing the little things like getting on the tube, exploring central London, walking around Covent Garden, sitting in cute coffee shops and watching the day go by.
Before leaving for London, I almost feel like I was quite naive. If one were to ask me, I would say I felt very secure and had a strong sense of identity. I felt confident in myself, my friends, those around me, and my surroundings. Little did I know, this study abroad experience would twist and turn me in ways that made me confront so many of my emotions that I felt like I was sure of. For example, back at Rollins, I always felt fairly confident academically. Before I went to London, I thought I would be totally fine and with the same amount of hard work, I would be good to go. However, I was not satisfied with any of my grades! The education system was completely different and I initially felt disheartened. I began feeling like I was not competent enough. However, reflecting back at it, I can say that it has only motivated me to do better as I now know that systems vary, and differences exist. I am sure my work ethic will improve just by being conscious of the fact that I have to do better. All these curves along the way have strengthened my identity.
I really loved the diversity London had to offer. It was one of my favourite things about the city because I never really felt like too much of an outsider. I met so many people from different walks of life who were also all experiencing London the same way I was. Getting to know how peoples realities differed from mine allowed me to learn simple quirks about other cultures. Also, although English people are stereotypically known to be “reserved” I found that they were actually as friendly as Americans. People were always willing to help, and more importantly, I noticed that everyone felt socially responsible and adhered to the system and its rules responsibly.
Lastly, what I am going to take away from this entire experience is acceptance of myself and those around me. London taught me that everyone has struggles, but all those struggles are different. Coming from Nepal, an impoverished developing country, I have witnessed poverty from close quarters. While in Nepal, people struggle for a proper education, clean food, and water, in the Western Hemisphere, people yearn for a better job and more relaxed lifestyle. The stark contrast between the two will always fascinate me. This is not to say one is more important than the other but gives insight into how peoples realities differ across the world. Although we are all individually unique, we also all have similarities that weave our identities together. As I have been fortunate enough to see that side of the world, I hope to gradually find myself in this vast spectrum and leave my own little mark.
I believe each little experience culminates itself to eventually fill the bigger picture. London was definitely a little piece of the big puzzle that I am yet to discover.