I am currently sitting in my apartment for the last Thursday that I may ever be in Australia. I get choked up writing these words. All those who have studied abroad before me have said how fast time flies and they are right. It feels as if yesterday I was moving in and now I am begin to pack up and move out. Four months ago, I was longing for a sense of home. But now I have realized that I have found my home. I have luckily found new friendships that tested me. I found life long friends who have helped me to develop into a better person. I found a place where I truly feel relaxed. I found all this and now I have to leave it behind.
A quote that I enjoy is, “don’t cry because its over, but smile because it happened” by Dr. Seuss. This quote describes the exact feeling that I have right now. I want to cry because my experience is coming to an end. The possible best four months of my life will be over in five days. But, I need to take this and remember all the incredible times that I have had. I need to remember the sunrises and sunsets on beaches in three different countries. I need to remember the terrible hostels where we stayed up all night laughing because it was too hot to sleep. I need to remember all the crazy adventures that may have gone too far. All these amazing memories that I hope to never forget.
To say goodbye we all had a family dinner. Everyone brought a different dish and we sat outside on the patio. This was a bittersweet moment. There was so much happiness because we were all together. But, so much sadness because it may be the last time we are all together again.
I am nervous for my reincorporation phase of this Rite of Passage. I am still not ready to leave behind my home in Australia. I am nervous for how I will feel when I return to America but also excited to see my friends and family. I am extremely nervous for the “post abroad depression” that everyone seems to get. I am hoping to find a way to adjust back to my old life style and hope to find a way to continue to find new adventures and new friends.
Richard Slimbach believes that “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” (Slimbach 54). This quote is extremely relevant to my study abroad experience. I believe that I have not only broadened my horizons of the world around me but I have also learned a few things about myself on the way.
I hope to take from my experience abroad as something more than just an adventure with new friends. Visiting Bali has opened my eyes to the level of poverty in the world. I met a boy who worked forty hours a week to make enough money to send his brother and sister to school. The boy himself never had the chance to go to school because he could never afford it. Seeing this has sparked my interest in mission trips to under developed countries. In order to make a difference, I need to have a vision. A vision is “an act of seeing, an imaginative perception of what should and could be” (Slimbach Loc 907). I have yet to come up with my exact vision. I hope by coming home and speaking with others who have traveled abroad, I will be able to develop a clear vision. It is impossible to change the entire world, but if I can find one thing to focus on, such as lack of education opportunities in Bali, then that is a start.