Leaving New Zealand is going to be very difficult for me. I have made many new friends here and saying goodbye to them and all the good times we have had will be a struggle. Reading Slimbach’s quote “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” (p. 54) leaves me a greater sense of what I have truly learned while abroad. I have not only become more aware of the world around me but also more aware of who I am as a person. In the beginning of the trip I said that I could adapt easily to any environment I was placed in but now that I am looking back on it I didn’t really adapt at all. I had a chance to become anyone I wanted but I decided to stay true to who I am and what I stand for and in the end that was the best approach I could have taken. Staying true to myself and to other people helped me in becoming a better global citizen, which in turn helped eradicate any negative stereotypes foreigners had about Americans. Throughout this experience I realized what it takes to be a responsible global citizen. You must be kind to others and welcome them with open arms, you must be tolerate of other cultures even though they may differ from your own, you must be willing to take chances and step outside your comfort zone, and most of all you must keep in touch with everyone you met. If you can accomplish all of these feats, I believe that you deserve the title of responsible global citizen.
I knew that saying goodbye to old friends would be difficult but it’s not as if I will never see them again. Instead of goodbye I would say “until next time” because I do plan on seeing everyone I met again. To end the semester my entire complex consisting of 36 wonderful people had a farewell dinner to commemorate the one last time all of us would be together. It was held in my flat because it was the biggest and cleanest of the complex and everyone was in attendance. The dinner consisted of a New Zealand college student special which was a lot of chips(french fries) and pizza. Can’t say it was the most elegant and delicious meal but hey it didn’t really matter as long as all of us were together. During the dinner, various awards were being handed out for certain accomplishments in the complex which were all the way from “Best Facial Hair” all the way to “Most Embarrassing Moment.” The night was filled with some good banter and was a sweet as way to end the times we’ve had together.
I have a very weird and unusual feeling that I can’t really describe concerning my departure. I feel as if it isn’t really going to happen. It feels as if I am just going to be gone for a few weeks and then be right back in it. I can’t say that I feel sad yet because I am still here, but I know that I will feel this way eventually. I know that I will go into culture shock yet again when I head back to the States but it will not be as drastic as coming here. I know that the reincorporation process is going to be very rough but I know I’ll be able to get through it.
The quote I chose to describe how I am feeling is the one that was used at the end of the award ceremony by the Kiwi host Tom Pullan which was “There are big ships, and there are small ships, but there are no ships like friendship.” I will miss New Zealand and the people I have met here but I will remember them always and will do my best in reuniting with them once again. The picture I chose for this travelogue is a picture of everyone in the complex after the dinner doing a Whetero. It is a technique used by Maori men to show their dominance over someone, but in this picture it was used to see who really learned anything about New Zealand culture while they were there, plus it makes for a very funny picture