One Hundred and forty-one days . That’s how many days I spent away from the United States. I can say that without a doubt, those were the best 141 days of my life. But just as my time abroad ends, so must this column, after all, it’s called #sullyabroad, and I’m not abroad anymore! I landed last night in Boston. But this column won’t be sad or melancholy, but rather a celebration of my time here. Consider this a greatest hits album from #sullyabroad.
Looking back on it, studying abroad was like going through all of college in a mere four months. You get to the new country (or school) and everything is so new! Making new friends, trying things you couldn’t do at home, and really just enjoying life. But after a while things start to get more serious, like they do in sophomore year. Grades need to be kept up, and the school loses a bit of its luster because you’ve been there before. Then junior year hits you harder than a freight train going 200 MPH. It sucks. You really have to start worrying about grades, all the assignments get harder and the end of the journey is on the horizon. But then senior year comes around and the swan song starts. By this point your grades are more or less locked in, so the foot comes off the gas pedal a bit. You care a little less about the school part and try to make the most of the time that you have left at school, because in a few weeks it’ll all be over. That’s how college has been for me so far, and that’s how studying abroad was for me. Four years mashed into four and a half months.
In four years you can do a ton, but knowing that I had very little time here, I was able to make the most of my time. I did so many incredible things here there is no possible way I can list them all… But oh boy am I going to try.
The beauty of the world was on full display, as I visited The Great Barrier Reef of my third day in Australia. A sea turtle swam right up to me, a reef shark swam beneath me and I got to hold a Sea Cucumber!
Then in New Zealand I got to tour Milford Sound, seeing wild penguins along the way! Back in Sydney I got to go surfing at the world famous Bondi Beach, catching every single wave along the way (although, mostly with my face).
After my exams wrapped up my mother came and we climbed on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge together, getting one of the best views in all of Sydney. I also got to visit Melbourne, where I got to hand feed some wild birds, along with seeing a handful of wild kangaroos!
Back in New Zealand I got to go into a helicopter and tour Queenstown, along with conquering my fear of heights by zip lining nearly 200 yards up in the air! At school, I won friendlist fresher in my dorm, I passed all of my classes at a school that is ranked in the top 50 in the world and I made some amazing friends from all around the world.
All this and I’ve still barely scratched the surface of all the cool things that I did while abroad. Any one of these experiences is reason enough to go!
And that’s it, #sullyabroad is no more. It will forever live here in the Cigar, and on my instagram (which you should all follow, @Ryansully44. Shameless plug) where the hashtag originated. But before I ride off into the sunset (and the winter), I just want to say a few thank you’s to a few special people and groups who made this journey possible.
To my parents, grandparents and everyone else who supported me during this trip, you have my eternal gratitude. I also want to thank The Education Abroad Network, the group that I came here with, for showing me just how incredible the world can be. The University of Rhode Island and the URI Office of International Education for helping me through this process. Emma Gauthier, my wonderful editor-in-chief who pitched me the idea to write these articles. And last but certainly not least, you.
Whoever is reading this, or has read any one of my articles. From the Hallers to all my friends and family back home, it was an honor to have written these articles and to have gotten such positive feedback time and time again. Alright everyone, that’s all I’ve got, so I guess for the final time this is #sullyabroad saying thank you, and goodnight.