We woke up at 3 a.m. Hungary time (9 p.m. east coast time) to pack up and head to the airport. Even at 3 in the morning and on our way to the airport the adventure was still happening. Our shuttle showed up and there were only 6 seats in the back and not enough room for all of our bags so we rode sandwiched in the back of the shuttle with a couple of suitcases in our laps and carry on bags shoved in crevices. Once we got to the airport the flight home was a piece of cake, we had no delayed or cancelled flights, and no lost baggage. We got back to school and got Cook Out for dinner and I fell asleep at 8:45. When I woke up in the morning I was more than eager to make the very last leg of my trip to finally be home.
A month ago I had a totally different idea of what this trip would be. Even though I had carefully looked over the syllabus multiple times I thought that this trip would be more focused on the Holocaust and be a very moving and emotional trip. I was mistaken, but not in a bad way. There was a pretty equal distribution of Holocaust and Jewish Culture on our trip. We also learned about how people teach about the Holocaust and a culture that disappeared from their country. We learned that in some places, like Bratislava, have a very difficult time explaining thoroughly what happened in the Holocaust and what happened to a culture that used to thrive there, whereas other places like Berlin and Budapest had very little problem conveying the message.
Not only did we learn a lot about the Holocaust, Jewish Culture, and how people in different countries share information about tough topics we also learned about the current cultures of 4 countries, we learned a lot about how people outside of the United States live, and we learned a lot about each other.
There are certain benefits that come along with being home such as family, friends, and, well, home, all things that we are familiar with. But there are also benefits to not being home, and not being with family, or familiar things. Some of these things are making new friends, getting to go experience new things (hopefully with an open mind), and learning first hand how other people live.
There is not a single thing that comes to mind for me that was a negative experience on this trip, some things were emotionally heavy but I would not say that they were negative, it was a growing experience. Over the trip I kept thinking "this has been an amazing trip so far, I'm so glad I got to experience this" but I don't think I actually realized how great of a trip it was until I got home and realized how much I missed the places we went, and the people I was with.
--"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness" Mark Twain