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When it’s over.

I had a life changing experience while abroad.  It was fun, stressful, exciting, exhausting, and everything in between.  Once I was finished with my 6 week program at Charles University two of my closest and oldest friends met up with me.  I took my first night train!

Sleeper cars are really cramped…

We spent three weeks traveling through Southeastern Europe and ended up in Italy.

Life at home isn’t this exciting.

The last few days of my three week adventure I spent alone in Rome and in Naples.  I definitely recommend solo travel.  I was able to go see the sights at my own pace and I was forced to speak up in situations where I’d usually let my travel buddies step in.

I found the Trevi Fountain all by myself!

Even though I went through bouts of homesickness while abroad, I’m sad to be home.  I wasn’t prepared to feel like this, but I hear it’s normal.  To fight by coming home blues I am keeping myself busy by meeting with all of the friends who missed me while I was gone.  Every so often I look at pictures from my trip and dream of returning to Italy and Croatia.  Aside from the sadness I feel a new sense of who I am and what I want out of life.  Something I want is more travel!  Next on my list is Japan 2018!  Thank you UMKC for letting me have this experience!


Lauren Higgins is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, studying Physics with emphasis in Astronomy.  Lauren is spending the summer abroad at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Study Abroad: The After Party

Join us to unpack your experience with other returning students and reflect on the impact of study abroad on your life in an informal setting. PLUS you will:

  • Connect with other students who have studied abroad & share your experiences
  • Learn how to best market your international experience to future employers with resources from the UMKC Career Center
  • Understand how to navigate reentry and tools for success
  • Discover how you can volunteer, study abroad again or work/teach (often for pay)
    after graduation!

This event counts as an UMKC Global Ambassador Program training session.

Home Sweet Home

Being away from home taught me so much about the world around me, but it also made me appreciate what I have at home. They always say you never realize what you have until it’s gone, and I have definitely experienced that over the last few weeks. There are many things I’m glad to have back now that I’m home, but there are also a lot of things I miss tremendously about being abroad.

Things I Love About Being Home:

  • Customer Service – In Ireland, customer service was nearly nonexistent. Servers work for a living wage and do not receive tips, therefore they don’t check up on you during your meal, refill your drink, or ask if our food was satisfactory. I felt like a queen at my first sit-down meal back in the States.
  • Family & Friends – One of the best parts about being home is having my family and friends near me at all times. I missed them so much while I was gone, and it’s so nice to be able to see them in real life, rather than through Skype.
  • Phone – I never realized how dependent I was on my phone until I was lost in London with no internet access on my phone and the inability to call anyone for help. I appreciate having my phone working again more than I could have ever imagined.
  • Not Living Out of a Suitcase – Being able to wear something besides the 8 shirts and 2 pairs of jeans I brought to Europe makes getting dressed so much easier. I’m beyond thankful to have access to all of my clothes now so that I don’t have to go buy something every time I don’t have the appropriate clothing with me for certain events. My wallet and my fashion sense appreciate it too.
  • Routine – Now that I’m not racing off to different countries and trying to squeeze as much into a single day as possible, I am a lot more relaxed. I finally have opportunities for some much needed down time.

Things I Miss About Being Abroad:

  • Adventure – Never once while abroad was I bored. The same cannot be said about being home. Sometimes while I’m doing nothing but watching TV I think about what I would be doing if I were still in Ireland — Exploring castles and meeting awesome people are usually at the top of that list.
  • Friends – Although we were only together for a short period of time, my classmates and I became super close. I miss living, learning, and exploring with all of them dearly!
  • Learning – Whether it be in or out of the classroom, I learned something new every single day while abroad. I was always curious about my surroundings, the history of where I was, or the culture of the area I was in.
  • Freedom- While abroad, I was (for the most part) able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. If I wanted to take the train somewhere for the day, I could. If I wanted to buy last minute tickets to a concert, I could. And if I wanted to just stay in and read or watch a movie, I could. Now that I’m home, I have to work so I’m not as available to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.