How does one sum up a year studying abroad in just a few short sentences? Impossible. The only thing that even comes close to an experience like mine would be the word unforgettable. In the sense that it will be impossible to forget the friends I have made here. Impossible to forget the families I lived with and now consider part of my own family. Impossible to forget the memories that have transformed me throughout this year. I arrived in Belgium not knowing a single word of French and I am leaving Belgium not only being able to speak a new beautiful language, but with so much more than I would have ever imagined. Experiencing new cultures, going to the biggest music festival in Europe, eating so many different kinds of food I did not know existed, and learning that love, friendship, and patience are universal and are vital regardless of language.
My host brother recently returned from the United States from his year abroad with the Rotary and we agreed on more than one thing about exchange years: its easily the greatest year of your life, living with people is not always the easiest transition to make, public transportation is so convenient, and learning a new language is both the most frustrating and most rewarding experience one can have. Leaving my life here is not something I am looking forward to, but life continues and making each moment in life is what makes every year unforgettable.