Odyssean Scholar: Returning Home

Each year, UNC Charlotte awards one student the Odyssean Scholarship. Through generous donors, this scholarship is awarded to a student who has a demonstrably high financial need as determined by the Financial Aid office and who could not otherwise study abroad without the support offered by the scholarship. Each Odyssean Scholar blogs during their experience abroad to share their experience with the UNC Charlotte community. This year’s recipient, Shamim Chowdhury Sajid, completed his time abroad on the UNC Charlotte Exchange with the University of Mannheim in Mannheim, Germany.

Where do I start? What a unique experience it has been for me. The exchange student life is like no other. It is a once in a lifetime experience, but the memories remain forever. Studying in a ranked business school in Germany, with a very competitive environment, has taught me how to overcome challenges even when I feel like giving up. The international friendships and connections I have made in Mannheim have transformed me into a different person, and I hope to stay connected with these people. I never imagined seeing so many changes in myself and exploring different cultures through travelling Europe in just one semester. This experience has helped me understand people of different backgrounds as well.

I always thought I was an introvert, and meeting new people has always been a challenge for me until I got to Europe. There, I was able to find the best version of myself by meeting so many other exchange students from all over the world, who I am happy to call my friends now. These
people were the reason I was able to have the best time during my exchange.

Packing up and preparing to come back to the States is something I was never looking forward to. How could I, when I won’t be able to experience authentic Turkish Döner kebab, Syrian falafel, studying and having dinner with friends? This exchange went by with a blink of an eye.

As my final semester began at UNC Charlotte, it felt a bit unnatural to return to the pace of my normal life in Charlotte. It’s been a month, since I got back from exchange and the settling back down phase in my hometown is taking me some time. For instance, back in Mannheim, I used to
travel with my friend to campus by tram and walk everywhere. Whereas in Charlotte, I drive and walk to campus alone, which is not something I was prepared for.

Nonetheless, it’s good to be back in Charlotte and spending time with my family. I love my hometown and my school, UNC Charlotte. Without the help of UNC Charlotte and the Odyssean Scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to explore Europe, be the person I am today and make friends Internationally. I look forward to finishing up my final semester at UNC Charlotte and moving forward with my life.