During the entirety of my six-week exchange in Australia, I didn’t see a single kangaroo. Not one. It wasn’t until the drive down from my exchange’s house to Sydney on the last day of my exchange that I saw a small group of them sitting peacefully on a golf course. I only got a glimpse of them for a split second–a quick infinitesimal blur in comparison to the duration of my exchange. This short anecdote is representative of my exchange experience as a whole. Immediately after I met my host family, preconceptions and expectations I had formed in the months preceding my exchange were proven wrong. My experience was completely different then I had ever imagined. I believe it to have been quite unique compared to some of my peers’. Similarly, one of the most well-known characteristics of Australia is its kangaroos. When I didn’t see them immediately after my plane landed I was in a little bit of shock. At the beginning, I found it a little difficult to converse and bond with my exchange, Jenna. Having seen all of the other exchange buddies at Athenian and seeing how close they were, I simply expected to become best friends with Jenna. Obviously, this isn’t how any relationship is formed. Yet I had that preconceived notion locked in my brain. In the end, Jenna and I have become exceptionally close friends, and saying goodbye to her family earlier today was extremely difficult.
Now, I’m in the middle of my 14-hour plane ride home. I’ve never felt so many conflicting emotions at once. A large part of me already misses all of the friends I’ve made and the school I attended in Australia. Yet, in the back of my mind, I’m really excited to reunite with my family and my American friends. It’s all so surreal. I can’t even believe that I’m already coming home. The six weeks flew by. I feel like I could have stayed at NEGS for so much longer.
Having been on exchange, I feel so much more prepared for life after high school. Having gone to a boarding school, many of my fears surrounding college and leaving home have been confronted. After the first week I was already used to being away from home and living in a dormitory-style accommodation with 55 other girls. I feel much more confident thinking about college now since that aspect of life is a lot less daunting and unknown.
Thank you so much to the Goodfellow family for hosting me. My journey has been unforgettable thanks to you J