Georgia – Exchange to Gannon University, USA
Semester 2, 2016
The end of an experience: My feelings about coming home
Well this is it, the one week count down begins.
No – I refuse to admit it. I am not at all ready for this to all be over.
It’s a strange feeling knowing that in a weeks time I will be stepping off the plane back in Melbourne and home for good. On one hand, I couldn’t be more excited to see my family and friends after 5 months of being away from home. But on the other hand, I feel like I’m leaving home all over again. I got so incredibly lucky with my room mates – they have become like family (cliché, I know), but I really can’t imagine not living with them anymore or seeing them every day. Who’s going to make s’mores with me at 10:30pm on a Tuesday night because we’re bored, who am I going to binge watch Greys Anatomy with because we’re both procrastinating? Like I said, it’s a strange mix of emotions.
By far one of the things that I have enjoyed most about my exchange is all the opportunities for side travel and weekend trips. Classes here are a lot less demanding than my course at home, whether that’s because of the difference in the types of classes that I’m taking, or whether the workload is just different I don’t know, but I have definitely taken advantage of the spare time! This is one thing I will miss most, being able to go up to Canada for the weekend, or drive to Washington DC for a quick overnight trip. Being able to visit all of these places that I’ve always wanted to see has been a highlight of my trip and something that I will find hard to let go of when I get home.
Before leaving everyone warns you of reverse culture shock when you get back home, which admittedly I never took particularly seriously because I just assumed that by the end of 5 months away I would be over the moon about coming home. I am – but I’m also so sad to be leaving. I’ve had so many firsts over here, my first time living away from home, first time living with room mates, sharing a room with someone, my first time living in the snow – its easy to start to wonder how anything at home will ever compare to this. Knowing myself, I’ll be happy to be home until around mid-January when the excitement of the holidays and being home has died down, all my friends will be back at college and I’ll be racing for the next flight back! To cope with the shock of being home that I’m now convinced I’m going to feel, I’ve already planned a trip to Tasmania and a weekend away in Apollo Bay – when they said to try exploring when you get home, this is what they meant right?
The closer I get to coming home, the sadder I’m getting, which is something that I didn’t expect. This experience has probably been the most challenging and rewarding thing that I’ve done, and I’m still not ready to accept that it’s almost over. Although my exchange is rapidly coming to an end, I know that I’m not leaving the US forever. I’m excited to now have so many friends here to use as an excuse to come back and visit, and I hope to maybe even move here again for a period of time.
This is the best experience I think I’ve ever had, and I can’t thank ACU and Gannon University enough for making it possible.