Julia van Warmerdam leaves Australia

IMG_1997IMG_0999After arriving home only a couple days ago, it is finally setting in that my wonderful exchange is over. I could not have asked more a more amazing seven weeks. Spending so much time in Alice Springs, a town very different from Danville, has IMG_2493opened my eyes to different people, social issues, and a more relaxed lifestyle. When I first found out that I was going to be staying in Alice Springs, I have to admit I was not thrilled. I thought Alice would be a small, isolated town with pretty much nothing to do. Now I can’t say I was wrong exactly, but what I underestimated was the impact that the people and the outdoors would have on me. Throughout my stay, I made so many amazing friends that it was heartbreaking to leave. Everyone was so kind and welcoming. I could not have asked for anything more. Round Square is incredible as it brings together amazing students IMG_2367from all over the world, but it makes leaving friends so much harder as I cannot just go to South Africa for a weekend to visit. Regardless, I know I have made connections to last a lifetime. It is remarkable to know that I have friends and a place to stay in so many countries all around the world.

IMG_2461As I look back on exchange, I realize how much I have grown from the experience. Since I did not know anyone when I got there, it taught me how to talk to people, be outgoing, and make conversations with complete strangers, which I have not had much practice with since sixth grade. I also became much moreIMG_0930 independent. I have become comfortable traveling by myself internationally, which I’m sure will be useful in the future! Overall, exchange was filled with countless new experiences, people, and memories that have impacted me as a person–and has made me thankful for all the opportunities I am given.