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Studying Abroad in Norway: A Journey Through Solitude, Resilience, and Global Consciousness Amidst Global Unrest

A solitary figure looking out at an icy, Norwegian landscape from a train window, notebook in lap.
Kaia Thonul, Wednesday, November 22, 2023, 08:18

As my fingers lightly press the keys of my laptop, aboard an early morning train cutting through the frost-kissed Norwegian landscape, I find myself lost in the fluency of thoughts that tumble relentlessly like the cold waters of a stream. This chill morning has already laid claim to the swirling curvature of my sighs, the constant rocking of the train harmonizing with the tremor of a loneliness that is as heartbreaking as it is enlightening. I grapple with this solitude as my mind reaches across continents, bridging the transition from accustomed comfort to the challenging unknown of studying abroad.

Every experience here has sounded a clarion call to the depths of my heart, searing my days with the melancholic sweetness of resilience and adaptability. Not just the sheer beauty of Oslo, or the bracing chill that beads my skin and reminds me constantly of my distance from home, but the intricacy of cultures, languages, histories unfolding in layers of revelation, as well as the stark reality of our world at war with itself.

This morning, the news echoed dully against my solitude, speaking of violence in distant lands. A tragic, heart-rending rhythm pulsating with the increasing frequency of escalating conflict between Israel and Palestine. A saga of suffering that seems to have sunk its claws into the very soul of humanity, provoking a sadness in me that is sadly, almost familiar.

I could almost taste the sadness behind the words of Moussa Abu Marzouk: a plea for peace, a desperate overture for something that should be as natural as breathing but has evidently become a sought-after privilege. And in this plea, I tasted the bitter undertone of a world arrayed against itself. I thought of the ravaged realities of families innocently caught in the crossfire, their lives percussively punctuated by the dread and uncertainty that accompanies the scourge of war.

Temporary walls of distance may define the geographical span between my present and that tormented terrain of unnerving tension, but my heart is not impervious to the sorrow that seeps through those borders. Suddenly, a silence louder than atrocities spoken reverberates through the train, drowning the benign hum of travel in the unrequited sea of humanity's ache.

You see, studying abroad has not only allowed me to observe and understand the diversity and nuances of the world—it has amplified my global consciousness. It fuels the realization in me that we, as inhabitants of this shared globe, are all intricately woven into a tapestry of shared pain and joy. It makes me cognizant of the world as a single body, each country a limb, every state a vein—our joys and sufferings flowing through an interconnecting circuitry of life's grand design.

The chill outside feels less harsh compared to the frigid news that filled my morning, and yet, in the subsuming lonesomeness of my journey, I cling to hope. Hope that as I learn, as I grow, as I write, my words, our words, can bridge the chasms of disparity and conflict. That my solitary voice will join a global choir singing a hymn of unity, of peace, and ultimately of love. In chaos, we seek calm, in divisions, we yearn for unity, and in sorrow, we search for joy. Just as my eyes never tire of seeking the familiar in the unknown, my heart never ceases to seek peace amidst unrest, and warmth within the biting cold of a 1-degree morning.

Tags: studying abroad global consciousness Israel-Palestine conflict

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