Exchange to Georgia College, USA
Semester 2, 2015
As my last few weeks in Georgia College and State University left draw to a close I continuously find myself dreading the end. In the short time, and I say short although before I left five months seemed like an eternity, I have been here I have made an amazing group of friends and created a lifestyle that I don’t want to leave behind. Recently, I have been reading a novel by the author Mitch Albom entitled “The First Phone Call from Heaven”. It was on page 234 that a sentence really hit home; “It’s a quiet theft, how time lures people away”. All too many times have I watched time and distance pull people out of my life and it made me realize that I am not ready to let go of my friends here.
I thought before I left that it would be my four sisters I would miss the most, that they would be what would make me count down the days until I returned home. I have missed them and I cannot wait to see them but I am feeling increasingly sad about leaving Georgia College. I’ve found a new home and new people to miss and there’s a part of me that’s afraid I’ll be homesick for them more than my home back in Australia. It extends beyond the people though; it’s the changes you see in yourself. I have become more independent and confident, I have learnt to make decisions for myself and most importantly I have learnt that I have the ability to live the life I want, to achieve the goals I set out.
I will forever be able to look back at this time in my life and remember how I feel right now. I am surrounded by people who speak my language, even though we are from all over the world. These friends aren’t the people I grew up with or played netball with every Saturday. There is something in friendships made by meeting random people who are doing the same thing you are, you share this amazing experience with them and it’s as if it creates or showcases this innate understanding of each other. There is a great sadness when the time comes to leave them behind. I hope that the time we have had here and the bonds we have made here can beat the odds. That the time we spend apart now cannot overcome the memories we have and in doing so steal away our friendships.
I am looking forward to coming home, to seeing my family, sisters and friends. To returning to my University and job, to the familiarity and comfort any ‘home’ offers. It’s just that now I have another home, somewhere else to long to return to, new people to visit and coordinate phone calls with through the different, and sometimes seemingly impossible, time zones. There is something scarily final about the word ‘end’; I can only hope that the word itself is inaccurately used for my time here. That it is not over, just on hiatus for the time being.
This experience offers no opportunity for regrets but one: that it does, on some level, have to ‘end’.