Kyle O'Brien, July 7th, 2017
Since returning to Texas I had the opportunity to reflect on my past five weeks in Europe. It was an incredible experience where I made some great friends, tried interesting food and learned about European culture. During one of our first classes Dr. Kevin Mac Gabhann told us that to discover what it means to truly be a Texan we must leave and experience the world around us. I think he was right. Living in Europe gave me a greater appreciation for the things I love about Texas such as air conditioning and Tex Mex. My five week experience in Europe also gave me a greater appreciation for other cultures. It taught me that my way is not the only way. At meals for example I had to get used to a slower pace. At first I did not like it because I am accustomed to eating fast and keeping to a schedule when I am home. As the trip progressed I ended up liking slow meals because it gave me a chance to catch up with friends and enjoy the food I was eating. Although it took some getting used to, the European pace was not that bad after all.
Every weekend we had the opportunity to travel outside of Strasbourg. We used planes, trains and automobiles to get to every corner of Europe. By the end of the trip I had visited six different countries and went through the shock of trying to communicate in a language other than English five times. All of our weekend trips were adventures in their own way. In Interlaken the whole group went on a “two hour hike” that ended up lasting three hours. It was exhausting but the view at the end made it all worth it. On our trip to Brussels and Paris with Dr. Gaspar we ate Belgian waffles and hung out under the Eiffel tower to watch it sparkle at night. In Positano we saw Italian shoes being handmade on the streets and rode up and down the scenic coastline. On our final weekend we went to Prague where we learned about a time when the city was under communist rule and we also got to see a baby Jesus doll that had been blessed by the Pope. Every place we visited offered a different language, different people and different experiences. I was able to go on so many adventures and I am truly thankful for that. At the end of all of these trips we were excited to return to Strasbourg. It was the place we called home by the end of the trip and I think that shows how great this experience really was.
These past five weeks are something that I will never forget and I will always be thankful for the experience.