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Dear Bristol,

First of all, what is this, a love letter? Yes, I actually suppose so. I just felt I needed to write to you, now that the year is over, as a final thank you and goodbye, to come full circle. Because you haven’t just been a setting for my Erasmus year; it was way more than that.

I remember I was completely lost last year when I had to choose a city for my year abroad; I originally wanted to go to the United States, but had been told it was impossible as an undergraduate. So when my dampened spirit recovered, I chose you, and I am so glad, because you have been perfect.

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Of course it was hard and stressful in September to leave everything behind, and start a whole new life in another country that I barely knew. But when I discovered what an interesting, artistic and buzzing city you were, I instantly knew I would have one of the best years of my life.

What I love about you is how unique you are, and how many different sides you have to show and offer to people. Every neighborhood is different from the next; I even enjoyed walking up and down Park Street, going to the triangle and University every day and just to be amazed at how beautiful it is.

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I loved having chilled walks at the harbourside at sunset, jogging in the downs, and going to the suspension bridge on sunny Sunday afternoons. I loved Stokes Croft street art, and wandering around the city with my friends. I had so much fun experiencing a different bar and great (or crappy) nightclub each weekend. My bedroom wall is already covered with pictures I printed in polaroid, which make me smile every single time I see them.

You were also the one who allowed me to go from you to so many other amazing places this year. I have been able to discover the wonderful Iceland, where I had the opportunity to go only because I was studying here in Bristol.

Now I know this might sound a bit cheesy, my dear Bristol, but I also needed to say you added another dimension to my life: an international one. I want to thank you for the amazing people I’ve met here.

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I knew I was going to have an incredible time, but it actually went beyond my expectations: so many great, nice, caring and funny people, that I’m sure I will see again, wherever in the world. I had been on a couple of summer camps where I met great people from all over the world, but it’s nothing like actually studying with them for a year. Now my Facebook newsfeed is filled with English and a dozen other languages besides my native French; I love that.

In short, you’ve helped me grow up, become more mature but more than anything become more curious, which I do believe is one of the best qualities a human being can have. Thank you for making me more resourceful and adventurous than ever; in fact going back home all of a sudden felt so mundane to me that I escaped right away and am now writing to you from a lovely beach in Barcelona.

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Thank you for making my English better, thank you for giving me all these opportunities I would never have had the chance to take in France; volunteering for your museum and art galleries, writing articles for several magazines across Bristol and the UK. Thank you so much for helping me start to understand what I want in life and how I am going to get it.

Bristol, I will never forget you, and what you brought to me. I’ll certainly see you again one day, and for now I eagerly await to continue my adventures abroad.

I love and miss you,

Eponine.


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