Reflections on a Study Abroad Experience
So I know I still have a little over a week here in New Zealand, but I’ve definitely been feeling nostalgic about my experience here which is slightly weird since I’m still in the country but hey this has been a truly incredible experience. It is very interesting to look back to the day I landed in Auckland super nervous but mostly excited for what was to come and realise how much I’ve changed and how much I’ve done. I have met some of the best people ever and done some of the weirdest or most random things I have ever done in my life. I was at a dinner party with a group of people who were a bit older to me and I was telling them that I’ve noticed some pretty big changes in me. They asked what they were and it was nice to be able to say that I feel that I’ve grown into a more mature and well-rounded person since coming to New Zealand. It really is a big change living thousands of miles away from home and essentially being on your own in a foriegn country for four months. True I had friends and a program that I was with that took very good care of me, but a lot of the stuff I did was self-planned or planned with people my age and on a college student budget. I’m definitely more relaxed about things than I used to be which is both good and bad but mostly a positive in my eyes. It sounds so hokey and cliche, but I’ve also learned to appreciate myself for everything that I am including the not so great parts because I came here with a clean slate, no one had any preconceived notions about me so I acted completely natural and made quite a few friends who like me for all of my quirks. That’s not to say that I don’t act naturally back home but usually my quirks come out the later you get to know me. Here I was weird from the get go which was pretty great. I’ve also learned to be more honest with myself and with others and not be afraid to disagree because hey everyone has their own opinion and their own agenda for their life and when they match up that’s awesome but diversity is also key to living a well-rounded life. I did think that coming to New Zealand would help put more of my life into perspective and I would potentially leave knowing what I wanted to do a year from now after graduating from uni….unfortunately I have less of an idea of that than I did before I came here, but that’s mainly because I’ve realized that I don’t have to have all of that figured out and I have some options. That’s definitely something I’ve learned since being here, to just go with the flow and live in the moment and appreciate what you have while you have it. While there’s plenty of physical things I will be bringing back to America, I think I’m bringing back an equal if not more important amount of mental and emotional things and that’s all I could really ask for from this experience.