In the movies, everyone seems to romanticize the idea of leaving. There’s a certain sense of excitement that comes from leaving a place behind, and people seem to idealize that feeling of escape. But it isn’t always that simple. Leaving New Zealand was hard for me. I met so many amazing people there who really shaped my experience abroad, and having to say goodbye, and realizing that I might never see them again, was difficult. While my departure was bittersweet, I’ve come to realize that the difficulty of leaving New Zealand was a good sign. I’ve been able to learn and grow a lot as a person and if leaving had been easy, it would have meant that my experience wasn’t as meaningful as it could have been. It’s hard to get all the feelings down in words, so here are a few highlights of my trip and my transition back home.
A few memorable moments that made my abroad experience include:
- Global cuisine night: a 5-course meal where each one of my roommates and I cooked something traditional from our home country.
- Driving through the Fiordlands. The route to Milford Sound took us through a massive slot canyon covered in waterfalls. It was pouring down rain and there was a layer of mist over everything which made it so magical!
- Taking a solo trip to the South Island and having my first-ever hostel experience.
- All of the evening outings spent grabbing dinner and dancing in the CBD.
- Exploring the natural landscapes of New Zealand and getting to hike in so many different areas.
The 5 things that have bothered me the most about being home are:
- Not being with all the lovely people I became friends with abroad…
- Driving. I keep turning on my windshield wipers instead of the turn signal (they were on opposite sides in New Zealand).
- Going back to school. The work that comes with being in an internship is much different than schoolwork. So is the daily schedule.
- The change in seasons. Coming from the warm, summer weather to cold, rainy spring days has been a change.
- Not having as many exciting things to do. Every day was a new adventure in New Zealand and being back in my college town makes everything so familiar.
The 5 things I have enjoyed the most about being home:
- Getting to see my dog and family again!
- Spending time with my friends back home!
- My car. Being able to drive whenever and wherever has been very nice.
- Being able to apply what I have learned abroad to school, work, and everyday life!
- How much more confident I feel navigating everything after being abroad.