The Worst Part of Studying Abroad

Sydnie Schell is a student at the University of Kentucky and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Lima, Peru.

Lima, Peru, Schell, Photo 1
Lomas de Lachay

“You will never truly be at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. This is the price you pay for the richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place.” Thank you, Pinterest, for this ridiculously sappy yet desperately true quote.

The answer to the title of this article is, of course, saying goodbye. Goodbyes are the worst. I’m currently writing this as I procrastinate packing and double checking my flight time home. Home. It’s funny because I started calling Lima home after my first week here.

Lima, Peru, Schell, Photo 2
View from my homestay

And just as I’m starting to truly be comfortable and adapt to the culture, I have to leave. It’s honestly a little bit heartbreaking.

I don’t know how I would even begin to describe my experience in Lima… Inspiring? Trying? Wonderful? Frustrating? Eye opening? Exciting? Adventurous?

It was beautiful and transformative and all of the above.

Lima, Peru, Schell, Photo 3
Historic Downtown

Completely clueless and overwhelmed, I didn’t know if I’d be able to do it at first. The onslaught of unfamiliar surroundings, swarms of people, and jumbled language left me both bewildered and exhilarated at the same time. I thought 4 months would feel like an eternity. But I was completely wrong and the fact I’ll be sitting on a plane in less than 12 hours is surreal.

Lima, Peru, Schell, Photo 4
Sunset in Miraflores

Some things will forever remain cinched in my mind: the picturesque Barranco district, the windblown coast, and the breathtaking architecture in the city center. Others memories will naturally become elusive with time. Maybe one day the blaring car horns or the smell of Venezuelan arepas in my homestay mom’s kitchen will be distant memories. But I certainly hope not.

Lima, Peru, Schell, Photo 5

I’m convinced that I didn’t pick Peru– Peru picked me. I didn’t choose Lima for any specific reason and truly came at random. But I can’t imagine my life without my experiences here. Sometimes things just fall into place and I’m so lucky to have lived in this vibrant city.

I refuse to say chau, so instead I’ll say hasta luego, Peru. Ya te extraño.

Lima, Peru, Schell, Photo 6
Sitting at the ocean in Callao

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