First year is coming to a close. People are packing up their rooms, saying goodbye, and leaving Swansea for the summer. I myself am leaving with an addiction to Starbucks, a newfound appreciation for folk music, and a feeling of nostalgia for the past year.
This has been the fastest yet most life changing year I’ve ever had. I can’t imagine my life before university and I can’t believe I have been away from home for so long. I’ve only been in the United States for a total of three weeks since September 2014. I have changed immensely while being here. I even look different. The Andie in September seems years younger than me right now, but I am still the same age as her, and last time I was home, I was her. (Preach time: age is really just a number. It’s all about experiences.) Before you leave, you wonder how much it will change you. There isn’t really an answer to that besides that it just does. Experiencing this year at uni has made me grow so much, and that combined with traveling has made me gain so much confidence in myself. It’s weird because I honestly can’t believe how brave I was deciding to live abroad. Obviously, I couldn’t fully grasp what I was getting myself into, but I’m glad for that. Right before I left, I was sad and a little scared to leave home. I knew I’d never be this young again and that life wasn’t so serious yet. However, looking at myself now, I am so much happier. I would have never gone out of my shell and tried new things if I didn’t leave home. I needed it. The thought of home now has evolved into something much more meaningful, even though I didn’t think it could ever expand any more.
Despite worries of homesickness, I didn’t get homesick at all this year until about April, which is an impressive amount of time without getting homesick if you ask me. I can understand why homesickness is so overwhelming now. It’s a hard thing to want to go back home when you’re so far away. It’s easy to start to dislike differences in culture and whatnot, but it’s a very bad habit to get into. I did find ways to help it a bit though. I took walks, listened to music, Skyped friends and family, watched Welsh slang YouTube videos, and I watched House Hunters International. Oddly enough, House Hunters International really helped. Most importantly though, I became friends with Leah from Canada. Having a fellow North American with whom you can share your struggles with and also share the excitement of being in another country with is really what helped me the most. Homesickness is an isolating feeling and people can never really understand it unless they leave home and experience it themselves, but it is something that you can get through. Overall though, it was a lot less of a problem than I thought it would be.
To answer everyones question: my favourite part was probably meeting all of the different people from different places with different accents. It’s cool to learn about people and culture and where everyone is from! And by the way, asking what someone’s favourite part was is a very broad question and it’s difficult to answer because you can’t just choose one favourite part out of a big life changing experience. 🙂
At this point it will be hard to revert back to US spelling and slang, but I am going to try to keep my UK side as well. Personally, I think it’s better. Heehee.
Seeing how much I’ve changed in just one year, I can’t imagine what I’ll be like at the end. It’s a bit overwhelming at times, but knowing how many friends I’ve made, how many places I’ve been, and how much I’ve grown as a person, I would never change my decision to come here. Plus now I only have two years left of university 😉
Knowing that in a few days I get to wake up in my own home and see my friends, my family, and my cat has brought many tears to my eyes.
I love you Wales, but I am ready for you, Minnesota! Bring on the humidity, stormy nights, and even the mosquitos!
Song of the day: