I was up packing until 3 am last night. It feels weird. Not sure how to respond to anything that’s really going on around me at this point. I don’t feel like I am leaving Cape town. Although, my room that I have been living in for the last 5 months is completely packed up, it still feels like I am just going on another spring break and I will return back to Cape town in just a couple weeks. This has become my home, so it’s weird to think I won’t be back here probably for a very long time. I’ve made this place my own. I feel like my family should be coming to visit me, not me returning to go back “home.” It’s a very hard feeling to really pin point a word for how to fully describe it.
You really do grow up when abroad and not necessarily talking about maturity wise, but just learning everyday life things like learning at which grocery store contains your favorite cereal and which other one doesn’t or that the other grocery store has the best lunch meat, but then a completely different one will have the best banana bread. Or where you could go with your friends for quick, cheap drinks and great food and atmosphere. And to learn what is considered good deals and what is not. It’s just little things like that that one would only pick up on and learn at home which is what Cape town has become for me.
When studying abroad there are so many little things that you learn or pick up over time. And each new mannerism subconsciously learnt or self thought all just builds up to a point where you now become completely comfortable in your new environment and it no longer feels like you are an outsider, yet instead someone who is now considered to be a local. It is a lovely feeling once you reach that level of confidence and comfortableness in your host country. Someone might ask what have I learnt while being abroad and there is SO much I could answer to that. I’ve learnt the obvious things like how to manage money, and to be responsible when it comes to class and school work. But I’ve also learnt some non obvious things too like to just laugh off condescending comments directed about Americans because I’ve come to terms that I can’t please every single person in the world and if someone isn’t going to give me the time of day just because I have the title of “American” then they aren’t worth my time anyhow. I’ve also learned that personal space is pretty non existent here and that I must be patient when out and about in public places. You learn so much while being abroad it’s hard to even describe in words, but I guess one way to put it is you literally learn how to live a different life. And that different life slowly merges to become your life and then soon when returning back home that will be the foreign country. The best advice that I would like to give to other students who want to study abroad is be ready for the best semester of your life. I’m not saying that the semester will be easy 100% of the time because more then likely it will be a challenge, but a good challenge. A challenge that I wish everyone could get the opportunity to experience. When abroad and on your own you really learn things about yourself that you never knew. It is an opportunity for growth and and most importantly to experience the world from a completely different view. Which in reality, it is quite impeccable.
My semester has come to an end and now it is time for me to start my long trek back home. My other home I should say. Time to finish packing and head to the airport. So, it is now time to say goodbye to this beautiful place; one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. Cape town, South Africa, Thank you for providing such an exquisite place to study abroad to.