Over halfway through the exchange program, and now hitting that hard part of the semester when all of a sudden there is a lot of work to do. And there is the realisation that, ‘oh I am not actually on holiday and I actually do need to study, and produce assignments and do exams.’ Eeeeeek!
Halfway through the novelty of living somewhere new, having that experience of everything being new and exciting and different has worn off and life has settled down back to the routine of just living and being. There are so many feelings attached to this part of the experience I think. There is a certain sadness, the one that happens when you have come home after a holiday, but there is also a sense of relief, because on arriving in a new place and the effort of adjusting and learning new systems that you know are probably quite simple and easy for everyone else, but just make living slightly harder because your intuitiveness of the way things work has been taken away… All of that is exhausting!
There is also a certain sort of homesickness that kicks in at times, maybe due to that exhaustion, it usually occurs when things start to go wrong for example; you fall off your bike badly, you lose your keys or your computer breaks down just when you were trying to finish an assignment and someone you love is having a crisis back home. Or things are going very right for people back home, a friend gets married and your family go on holiday all together and all of a sudden you lose perspective and all you can think about is how frustrating it is that you aren’t at home and all of the things you are missing out on.
It is so important not to wallow in that stuff though, because being here, and having the opportunity to go on exchange to learn new systems and discover a different culture is incredible. I am not just learning about one culture, I am learning about many others as well, including my own, just from living in the student accommodation. Very often I am discovering far more similarities than differences between people and that is a truly wonderful thing.
Here is a song from The Waifs that I think captures that homesick feeling The Waifs – London Still