After a Year Abroad
Greetings from Aberystwyth.
I literally feel like I am reading a book in the middle of a hurricane. The exam time has started and
our library is full of revising students. With all this panic we still manage to have our calm tea
moments, or crazy caffeine overdoses, together. We are trying to spend all the possible time with
each other, even though it feels that there is absolutely no time. I was having a conversation on the
phone with my friend yesterday while I was jogging– just to use the time to talk with a friend and
catch up. Everybody is starting to realize that the time is ending and this is it. The only time there is
left of my exchange year is this crazy period and after exams it is time to 'pack my room in a
suitcase' and fly back to Helsinki.
strange it feels to return home. I cannot imagine yet, how long it is going to take to actually recover
and go back to all the habits in Finland. What ever happens, I will still have all these invitations to
go for visits around the world and I have, as well, invited my Aber friends to Helsinki. I know some
people are waiting for me to come back home– there is going to be hugs and support and I do not
need to survive alone. I have asked an advice from friends who have experienced this kind of 'return
home' and I know that for a while I may need to be more social, make more effort and really use my
cell phone– it is going to take a while after everybody realizes I am actually back.
As I said before, during the exchange year you do not learn only to study abroad, you learn to live
in another country and use strange language in new situations. In this kind of circumstances you
very easily learn about yourself, as well. I have learnt more than maybe ever before because the
view is so much more clear when you are outside everything you knew before. I have, also, learnt a
great deal about different cultures and how to appreciate this variety of cultural habits in everyday
life. My friends here in Aberystwyth come, for example, from Canada, Germany, Hungary,
Australia, Malaysia and, off course, from Wales– and there certainly are different kind of small, and
also bigger, cultural habits. I believe it is possible to use some of the characteristics from other
cultures in your own behavior and I wish I am able to fully continue acting that way back home. For
example, I really enjoy some forms of the British 'Keep calm and Carry on' -culture because it
makes you see something positive in everything you do.
have it as a whole year. Sometimes in Finland I thought that as a 24-year-old I am suppose to be
fully an adult and maybe not take this kind of steps anymore. Surely I am still an adult but I
understand now why these experiences are so important– how would I know what I want without
knowing myself? An exchange year abroad also makes life more unsecured, I still do not have a job
when I return to Finland but I do have a rent to pay. I have not bought the plane tickets yet because
there are still so many things that are not certain. This kind of experience teaches you how to live in
a situation where many things in your life are not certain and there is no detailed plan for the next
month. Off course, it can create some stress, but in the end everybody should remember, that life is
an adventure. We all have plans but sometimes something better comes on the way.
I wish you all the best for your plans and a life full of journeys.