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Journals from University of Otago

2009-12-20 Heading Home

At the beginning of the semester, I wrote about how I was homesick and how I was anxiously awaiting my return home. I did not go in too deep about how bad my homesickness was but now that it has passed, I will elaborate. I felt that coming to New Zealand was the worst decision I ever made and that five months was way too long to be away from home. I was convinced that I would never again want to be away from home for so long and that I would never even dream of living outside the United States. I would cry myself to sleep at night because I felt so alone. I was constantly wishing that at least one other student from Linfield was at Otago just so I recognized a face and had someone to talk to about home. Now that the semester is over, I cannot imagine my life back in the States. Leaving New Zealand is the last thing I want to do and if I didnt need to be back for softball in the spring, I would look for a way to stay for the next semester. Also, I feel as if the friends I made while here are some of the best friends I have ever made and I am glad that I was at Otago without any other Linfield students because I feel as if the experience was my own and something special just for me. I have made so many great friends here and experienced so many new wonderful things that the thought of going home feels strange. Throughout the semester I felt that time was going fast but now that the end is here, I am realizing even more how quickly the semester went. While I have done so much while I have been here and have learned so much about myself, there is still a lot I want to do and I feel like there is more that I can learn about myself. Being here has made me realize there is so much else in the world that I want to explore. I am so excited to travel to the different countries of the friends I have made here. I am already planning to come back to New Zealand and Dunedin in the fall of 2011 with some friends to go to Rugby World Cup games. Some of my friends and I have even discussed the possibility of finding an internship or job here and living together for awhile. While saying goodbye to these friends was one of the hardest things I have had to do because never again will we all be here under the same circumstances, I did not feel like any of the goodbyes with my closest friends were final. I know that I will stay in touch with the people I have met here and I know that our paths will cross again and I am excited for that day. I encourage everyone who has the opportunity to study abroad to take advantage it. And honestly, the beginning of the trip is likely to be hard for students because we are thrown into a completely new situation which is scary. However, the overall experience is so worth the sad feelings of the beginning. This has been the greatest journey of my life and I am excited to see how many doors this experience has opened for me.

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