To think that at the time of writing I have less than two months, fills me with many varied and conflicting emotions. Of course, I am happy that I will return to my family and friends, to my comfortable everyday routines, and to the country that I call home…
But I will undoubtedly miss the new friends I’ve made, the new country which has been my home for a number of months now, and the unpredictable nature of life here in Kufstein, Austria. The former, especially, and the thought that I will not see many of the people I have gotten to know over the past semester, already makes me want to stay, and to not get on that final plane heading to Melbourne in two months. I can sa y the same thing for the fast-paced and exciting way of life that I have slowly grown accustomed to here; despite longing for the comfort which a familiar environment brings, I, probably like many people, do not want to abandon the inspiring and motivating lifestyle here.
Likewise, I feel uncertain as to how easily I will settle back into my everyday routines, due to having experienced so much here, which has certainly impacted me as a person and changed my attitudes and expectations. Will my family and friends think I am a different person, and will the life I was previously so accustomed to feel foreign to me, or conversely, will all that I’ve learned and experienced be forgotten, and will I simply return to my habits as if I have not experienced or learned anything?
This all makes the thought of returning home a daunting one.
I am probably not the first student to daydream about an endless exchange semester, but just like all good things, this one has to end at some time. That time is drawing closer.
For sure I will focus on making the most of the remainder of my time here. That includes thinking about and working on my relationships with the people I’ve met, so that once we return to our separate and distant homes, contact will not be lost. It is easy to tell someone to write every day, but only true friendships stand the test of time. I will also continue to try to venture outside my comfort zone, just as I have been trying to do all semester, so that when I return home I can honestly say I took the most out of my exchange trip.
Although I mentioned that I don’t want to leave, I also want to see my home again, and am curious about coming back to Australia after having experienced everything that I did, on exchange. I am fairly confident, and certainly hopeful, that I will be able to make even more out of my experiences at home, now that I have learned more about myself.
The exchange semester has definitely helped me grow as a person, just as I thought it would. It has helped me develop greater maturity and independence, and has broadened my mind in too many ways to describe. My job for when I return is to apply this to my life with my family, in my workplace (current and future), in my social circle, and to my everyday activities and overall attitude to life itself.
I will take this opportunity to thank all the people involved in organising and sending myself and the many other students overseas, and hope that the sincerity of this will make future students believe that the experience is truly an unforgettable and moving one.