The Start of the End (OP4)

Hello fellow travelers!

We are in our last few days here in the UK and as you may have seen in posts by my fellow classmates, we are almost done with the course. Tomorrow is a free day and our last day here in the UK before we travel back to Iowa. London seems like the most popular choice of activities and so, there will be plenty to see.

For me, these last couple of days symbolize  the start of the end of my undergraduate career. Seeing as how I am a senior on this trip, this time is very hard to deal with because the reality of graduation and “the real world” have slowly started to creep in. On the one hand, it’s great because I get to go out into the world and start making a difference. On the other hand, it’s terrifying because of the fact that I don’t know if I’m ready for it yet. The end of this course means the end of my undergraduate career, and so, I am a little sad to see it come to an end. I have enjoyed my time here with our group and because I will be graduating, I won’t get to see these amazing people very often. However, life, as they say, must go on.

I think some of my favorite sites were ones with ruins that have been surrounded and taken in by nature. Rievaulx Abbey, Stonehenge to an extent, Avebury, Urquhart Castle, and Culloden to name a few. I liked these because we got to see the beautiful landscape around the structure, and because of their remains being mostly in ruins, the atmosphere is something special in that you feel like you are walking into a place with so much history. This archaic feeling makes me feel excited because it’s like we can connect to the past just by being in the same place that others before us have been. This connection is incredible and is one reason I came on this trip.

I will miss a lot of things from the British Isles. The scenery, for one, with its rolling hills, mountain peaks, beautiful lakes and rivers, the majestic ocean, and all of the green in the pastures. I will miss getting in touch with the cuteness of seeing baby sheep playing in the field and ducklings swimming after their mother. I’ll miss seeing all of the beautiful sites and structures as we pass by on the train or the bus. I’ll miss some of the best candy and chocolate I’ve ever had not to mention amazing food and drinks. But out of everything, I will miss the people and their kindness and warm heartedness as they greet and show around a newcomer to this part of the world. It’s a sense of home that never seems to go away no matter how far away you go, and I love it.

I’ve learned a lot while we were here both in academic and nonacademic terms. I learned a lot of British history and its many phases throughout time. I’ve learned about many important  figures not just in terms of what they did but who they were as individuals. I learned things about myself that I didn’t know about before, and I think that this point is very important because it means that not only did I grow academically but I also grew as an individual which is part of the reason I came on this trip in the first place.

I could go on and on, but I figure that you all have other things that you have to do. Thank you to all of the readers who have followed us as we have traveled to all of these places, and I hope that you were able to feel like you were right here with us. Thank you for your support. Well, as they say, all great things must come to an end. And so, I bid you safe journeys wherever they may take you and thank you once again.

Ashley H.

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