Auf Wiedersehen, Berlin.

The time has come to bid Berlin farewell.

This semester has been full of highs and lows, but everything worked out in the end. I traveled around Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Ireland, the UK and Greece. I had the opportunity to intern with an international business and meet some amazing people who are going to do great things. I took interesting classes with professors from all over Europe. I was a part of the first year of CIEE Berlin Open Campus and I learned so much about Berlin. I was in Europe during the immigration crisis and witnessed it first hand. I was a part of Berlin’s Christian community. I met people I know will be apart of my life for years to come. I was able to have another life changing semester.

This semester was not short on its tough moments; actually, things were often difficult, but I wouldn’t change this semester at all. Hard times foster growth and I know when I return to the U.S. I will begin to see the extent of that growth.

Please go abroad! There is really no experience that compares to your first time boarding that plane with 4 months worth of clothes, a heart full of excitement and passport in hand. You are living in a different country and are able to decide who you want to be and what you want to think. You see that the U.S. is not the center of the universe and learn about all the other cultures out there. You learn so much about yourself and grow in ways you could never imagine possible. I cannot even believe I spent a semester living in France and another in Germany. Wow. When else would I be able to do that in life? Being that I am now a Hope College graduate and I’m beginning to look for jobs, I know I am truly going to stand apart. My international experience and the lessons I’ve learned are invaluable and not easily obtained. As dramatic as this sounds, I know that after this semester I will never be the same person I was a couple of months ago. I’ve grown, I’ve changed, and I’ve gained greater wisdom through my experiences. I have learned more about the world and look forward to the future.

So, Berlin, this is goodbye. I don’t know when I’ll be back, but thank you for challenging me in ways I would have never expected. I’ll always have love for this wonderfully strange city.

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Bri <3

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