The first year of studies in Lund comes to an end for columnist Katherina Riesner and she is forced to look back and ahead.
Classes are over; thousands of students are heading home and beloved Lund will soon turn into a quiet small town for a couple of months. The past weeks were packed with finishing papers, organizing summer plans and visits from home. There was little time for reflection but now that things are calming down and friends are about to leave Lund, I’ve caught myself wrapped up in memories from the past ten months.
Most students, international or local, value the friendships they make during their studies above all other experiences. I, too, look back and am thankful for the people I have met and gotten a chance to know. But equally important, within the foreign surroundings I have been offered an opportunity to find myself, away from expectations of family and old friends and my own culture; a chance to discover who I am now and who I want to be in the future.
Time abroad is a precious gift that allows you to experience the facets of your own identity. You get to go back to your 19-year old self, who is able to enjoy every moment like it’s the first and the last one to feel really alive. At the same time, you get to dream and fantasize about what is to come, free of judgments; free to make plans that might work out or fail miserably; forced to step out of your comfort zone and discover the entire range of human experiences from triumph to defeat.
The other day I was walking through Lund with a friend; I looked around and found myself – for the first time – being sad about going away for summer. This town with its terrible climate, quirky people and late-night-falafel trips has really grown on me. I can tell my time here is not up yet. So my heavy heart lifts when I think about coming back in August, getting those last classes started, beginning work on my thesis and above all reconnecting with the people who have shaped and influenced my new Swedish self in the past year.