This is an open love letter to those who I have had the opportunity to meet this semester— and who I unfortunately have to part ways with in just a few short days.
The past four months have served as a great time of personal reflection of other cultures and ways of life.
Through the Leuven, Belgium, study abroad program that Loyola has created, I have been able to live with a variety of people from a wide range of nations. My fellow students are not only from Europe but countries around the world. I have met people from Spain, Hungary, Slovenia, Japan, the Czech Republic, and of course Belgium.
These people have shared a living space with me as well as their amazing personalities and life experiences. Some will stay through the spring semester here at the University of Leuven and some must go home. Either way, they will soon no longer be part of my day to day, and so this letter is for them.
Dearest friends who have become family,
Thank you for being there for the hopeless American students who, when we arrived, didn’t know how to properly lock a bike, convert euros from dollars, or tell military time accurately.
Thank you for looking out for us by providing travel tips… like don’t bother paying for the metro in the Czech Republic, and reassuring us that RyanAir flights are “pretty safe means of transportation”—even if they are only 9 euro each way.
Thank you for sharing your holiday traditions with us in song and dance.
Thank you for exposing your struggles to us.
Thank you for being the genuine people that you are.
For this, we love you and will always remember you…
Looking back on our short time together not with sadness because it is over, but with joy that we ever knew it to exist at all.
I have grown to love you all more than I could have ever imagined in such a short period of time. Remember you always have a home in the memories of those who love you.
Love always, your American friend, Katie