By Lexi Donnel |

If you asked me three weeks ago if I were ready to go home, my answer would have been a resounding yes. If you ask me now, my last week in Budapest, my answer has changed to maybe. Throughout the past five weeks, I went from extreme homesickness to contentment.

Homesickness is nothing new for me. I live in the St. Louis area, but attend school at Baylor University in Texas. Europe has been a completely new experience for me. While in Budapest, I am seven hours ahead and thousands of miles away from my friends and family. My international phone plan makes contact limited, unless I am on Wi-Fi. These changes overwhelmed me at the beginning, and I became homesick to an unhealthy degree. I isolated myself and did not want to talk to others. All I wanted to do was sleep. However, even though I felt extremely lonely and out of place, I knew my mom, sister, and fiancé were flying to see me for a few days during the second week of my trip and this fact kept me stable. Their visit was fun, but it was short. I knew that after they left, I would have to continue the rest of the trip alone.  

To my surprise, these past few weeks I have felt at peace with my circumstances. I am talking to my groupmates more and building friendships. I now have people I can talk to and explore with and no longer feel the need to stay alone in the apartment. During my free time, I enjoy strolling through the city, and the more I do, the more I fall in love with Budapest.  

I find I am my happiest when I can take the metro to some of the busiest places in the city and walk around for hours. I love crossing the bridges and watching Budapest light up during the night. The more I find myself in this routine, the more I feel I can stay here forever. Here I am with only a few days left of my study abroad, yet I feel like I am now a full-time resident living in Budapest.   

This trip has not only taught me ways I can deal with homesickness abroad, but lessons I can take back to Baylor. I do not need to go to my apartment and nap after class every day. Instead, I want to explore Waco with some of my new friends, find fun events to attend over weekends, or drive to Dallas or Austin to enjoy my last semester of college. I am excited to go home, but I will find that part of my heart will remain here in Budapest.