NYC Kate Rhind

The end of an experience: my feelings about coming home

Kate – Exchange to St John’s University, USA

Semester 2, 2016

The end.

No, stop, not going to happen, na uh, not to me, no way, no.

That’s how I am feeling about those dreaded words.

It really is scarily close now. Only 6 weeks until the semester is over and I will be saying goodbye to the many wonderful people I have met here. When I think about the initial 6 weeks here, time went by so fast and slow at the same time. I was doing so much every single day, meeting heaps of people and having completely brand new experiences all on my own. And that hasn’t changed! I am constantly on adventures in the city as I cannot resist spending every free morning, afternoon or evening in the infectious NYC. I am catching up with friends and experiencing all that I possibly can. As far as studying goes, I am doing so little compared with the amount of time I put in back home yet am still achieving the high grades I’m used to. This is because I have found my classes to be way less demanding here in the States, and all the other exchange students share this opinion. This frees up a lot of time to just enjoy it all.

This is something I am seriously going to miss. I love the freedom of being able to go on adventures and explore what there is to see. At home I have work and I have responsibilities and Uni is a lot more full on. I can already see myself going crazy not being able to do new things every free moment I get.

I have only really felt homesick on one occasion while being here. I am a very independent person who has travelled overseas for just short of this amount of time before, so I am accustomed to being away from friends and family for periods of time. I do not feel the need to talk to my loved ones back home all that frequently. I message my parents and close friends a few times a week when something happens that I want to say straight away, and I Snapchat constantly so people know what I’m up to. I have only FaceTimed my family about 3 or 4 times and two of my best friends one time each. Because of this, my feelings about coming home are so mixed. I am excited to see them all, but I know everything back home is exactly the same. It hasn’t been so long that I cannot remember what my neighbourhood feels like, or longingly miss the normality of being at home. I love travelling – I thrive on it. My travel bug will immediately want me to leave again after probably a week at home.

I am meeting my boyfriend before Christmas and we are embarking on a US trip together. We haven’t travelled for an extended period of time together in almost 3 years so it is well overdue. THIS I am super psyched for. It is something to look forward to and enjoy after the sadness of saying goodbye to everyone here.

One of the hard things about coming home is knowing that I won’t have anyone close by to reminisce about our time here. I mean, I can message them when I remember something but essentially we are all alone when we return to our home countries. It’s an experience that is so individual. While I have friends that have been on exchange and know what it’s like, they didn’t have the same exact experiences as me. They were in other countries doing different things and have different stories. I cannot turn to someone when walking down the street and say “Hey remember that time on Halloween when we lost Howard in the city and missed the parade but turns out he went and got tiramisu?” (actual story). It will be me just telling people that story and having them laugh or smile, however they will not be able to share in the memory.

What I can look forward to in the future is all the connections I now have around the World and within the US. I know I will be back here, and I hope to live here for a period of time again within the next 5 years.

Exchange is one of the best experiences of my life so far, making thinking about coming home so damn difficult.NYC Kate Rhind 2