A Bison Abroad | Reflections

a bison abroad

After four months in England, I am now back in Fargo. England’s parting gift to me was rain, and North Dakota’s welcome was snow and ice with subzero temperatures. I never thought I would say it, but I’ve missed the cold. Maybe if you give me a few months, I will be able to say the same thing about England’s rain.

Comments about the weather aside, my time abroad has been one of the highest points of my (admittedly not particularly long or eventful) life. I met people I never would have met, made friends I never would have known, saw places I had only dreamed about seeing and even learned to cook more than whatever I could scorch in a microwave.

It truly is an astounding experience to pick up — move halfway around the world and live there for four months. To anyone who thinks they might like to go: do it. Your world will open up. And you may never have an opportunity like this again.

To say that studying abroad has completely changed my life would be a bit dishonest. Instead, it feels like peeling off that piece of film that you didn’t realize was covering your screen when you bought it. Everything is just a little bit brighter, a little bit more in focus and shiny.

When you study abroad, it seems to me that perhaps more than what you learn in class, you learn about yourself. When you are pulled away from everything and everyone you’ve known for your entire life, it seems like you get closer to what is essential, to what is important to you and to who you are.

Just a few short days ago, I left a country I had never been to before, and yet it felt a little like leaving home. I left behind friends I had never known, familiar sights that I had never seen, the smell of a room that was at first different but then normal. It was bittersweet to come home, but leave a place and people I had slowly grown close to. It is sad to think of the moments I will miss in the lives of others, and the places I will not see and the people I may not see again. But I am grateful for the time I had, and I regret nothing.

Rio Bergh was an NDSU student studying abroad in Europe. In his “A Bison Abroad” column, Rio gave his first-hand account of what it is like living in Europe as a student from Fargo. 

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