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MUDEC Méinden Summer 2021 #1
MUDEC Méinden Summer 2021 #1
Miami UniversityJohn E. Dolibois European Center logo
MUDEC Méinden-Weekly news from the MUDEC community for the MUDEC community-#lifelongMUDEC

Summer 2021 #1

May 17, 2021

Not Ready to Leave Europe Just Yet...

by Hannah Sroka, MUDEC Spring 2021

Editor's Note: We bid a fond farewell to our spring semester students last week as they concluded their MUDEC semester. Many thanks to Megan Fogarty, Megan Smith, and Hannah Sroka, our three student interns who provided their perspectives on the traditions and experiences that MUDEC offers, even during a pandemic.
This week, new MUDEC alum Hannah Sroka provides reflections on saying goodbye to friends while staying in Europe for the summer.
Hannah and Taylor at the Chateau
I wrote the first draft of this article the day before everyone left for the US, and it wasn’t anything spectacular. It was supposed to be a reflection of my time in Luxembourg and what I’m looking forward to in the future. I can sum it up in a few sentences: MUDEC was one of the reasons I came to Miami. COVID-19 made everything more difficult. I’m not quite ready to leave Europe yet, so I decided to stay an extra eight weeks for some internships.
As I was writing this first draft, my roommate, Taylor, was packing. She would alternate between weighing her suitcases, stuffing little souvenirs into anywhere they’d fit, and chatting with me about how it was almost time to go home. We couldn’t believe that the semester had gone by this fast. I remembered getting here in January and unpacking; now I was watching her put four months of her life back into two suitcases, a carry-on bag, and a backpack. In between this, I was writing about how I knew what my extra eight-week stay would look like—I’d miss my friends, but I also wouldn’t look back, and I’d spend my time venturing around Luxembourg.
I’m writing this second draft just over twelve hours later, but my mindset is so different that it feels like a week has passed. I went with Taylor to the airport this morning to say goodbye to her and some of our other friends. I was expecting lots of tears and emotions—I had spent almost every day with Taylor for the past 16 weeks, and now we wouldn’t even be on the same continent. When the time came, she gave me a hug and said, “I’m sure I’ll see you again.” After she checked in, we waved one last goodbye, then she was off to security.
And that was it.
It really was rather anticlimactic. I didn’t cry, or even feel like I was going to. I spent the rest of the morning wandering around Luxembourg City by myself, getting some fresh air and exploring some new sites. It wasn’t until I got back to my host family’s house that I realized all my friends were gone. I walked into the room that Taylor and I used to share and saw that my shoes were the only ones on the rack, that my food was the only thing still in our drawers, and that my suitcases were the only ones propped against the wall. The only indications that she had lived here at all were a box of disposable masks that wouldn’t fit in her suitcase and a slightly rumpled bed. She wasn’t here anymore, and neither was anyone else.
This felt more weird than anything else, and I wasn’t nearly as upset as I thought I would be. The idea of me waking up and going to the Château alone each morning is weird rather than sad, as is the idea of me cooking dinner myself and coming home to a mostly-empty room. But the thought of me sitting in an airport with the rest of my classmates, waiting to board my flight home, feels even weirder. I can’t imagine being here on my own for eight more weeks; I can’t imagine going home either.
I decided to stay for these extra eight weeks partly because I just couldn’t leave. I’ve been looking forward to this semester for as long as I’ve known I wanted to study abroad—about a year and a half—and I wasn’t ready for it to be over quite yet. I was lucky enough to get two great internships that allowed me to extend my stay for the perfect amount of time: eight weeks, long enough so I can explore a lot more of Luxembourg and its surrounding areas but short enough that my departure date isn’t too far away.
I have no doubt that this weird feeling I have right now will eventually turn into all sorts of emotions. I’ll shed a few tears over the fact that my friends are all six (or seven) hours behind me and won’t be a short bus ride away anymore. I’ll be so thankful I stayed when I visit new castles and hiking trails. I’ll wish I had gone home when I see photos from my sister’s high school graduation, but I’ll be happy that I was able to spend more time with my host family.
With friends in Stockholm
Because of this, I’m now anticipating the next eight weeks being a bit of a mixed bag. Less than a day ago, I thought I had everything figured out. Now, I truly don’t know what to expect, or how I’m going to feel, or where I’m going to go. I don’t know if I’ll love these weeks more than the past semester, or if I’ll spend them counting down the days until July 5.
And I think that’s perfectly okay.
One thing this semester taught me is that learning to go with the flow is a great skill to have, as there are so many things in life that are just out of our control. Our weekend travel destinations, for instance, were largely dependent on what other governments thought of their country’s COVID-19 numbers. We had to learn to live with the fact that we couldn’t plan out our weekends far in advance; once we figured out how to do that, planning trips became a lot easier. And once I figure out that I don’t need to know how every week this summer is going to go, I’ll be able to enjoy it a lot more.
I’ll certainly miss my friends, but I’m still incredibly excited to have this opportunity to explore Luxembourg for almost two two months. I know that when the time comes, I’ll be ready to come home; until then, I fully intend to make the most out of the rest of my time here.
Château & Administrative Hours
Winter view of the Château de Differdange, where Miami's Luxembourg campus, the John E. Dolibois European Center, often abbreviated to MUDEC, is located

Château Hours

Monday-Friday:         8:00-22:00
Saturday:                 11:00-19:00
Sunday:                     Closed
Hours are subject to change

Administrative Hours

Monday-Friday:  8:30-12:30

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