A few blogposts ago, I mentioned how I felt about leaving home and the fear associated with it. Today, here I am again, sitting in a Boeing 777 aircraft, 30,000 feet high, but this time, I’m going home – the home where I originally came from.
Imagine yourself as a THINK Global School student. You are in a completely foreign city for 3 months, spending every day with your peers, teachers, and the local citizens who were never a part of your life before. You go to places you have never been before. You eat food you have never eaten before. You take public transportations you have never taken before. You develop new insights and perspectives. Then 3 months fly by, and you’re going home.
Before the plane takes off, you look through that squoval window (yeah, I made that term up – the window shape is really somewhere between a square and an oval), and you start thinking back to every single experience in the last 3 months while you’re away from home. The flight home will feel much longer than it really is. As soon as the plane has landed, your hands are probably already on the buckle, ready to be the first passenger to unbuckle. You look through the same squoval window again and you think to yourself: “I’m home”.
“Going home” will never be the same again the second you become an international/boarding student. Of course, your family may still be the same. The food, the people, the friends, the culture, the streets, everything will probably remain the same as well. Yet, each time you go home, you are a different person. Whether it’s from living on your own away from home, or from understanding more about other cultures, each experience is a learning experience. The package that defines who you are will become one that carries more knowledge, maturity, independence, experience, and perspectives. Compared to the time when you began your journey, you now look at things through a different lens.
The most amazing thing is not only that you are different as a person each time you go home, but the fact that each experience of “going home” is itself different. How I felt about going home the first time 8 years ago is still vivid in my memory. I remember counting down the days that I could spend at home, feeling a bit down as the days went by. I even felt more homesick in between the first and second time I went home than when I first left. As I mature over the years, I have learned to appreciate the time I get to spend with the familiar faces. Rather than being depressed and upset as I head to the airport again, I actually smile and leave feeling extremely grateful that I have the opportunity to explore the world while having a place called home for me to return to every once in a while. And it will be the same for you. Of course, it takes time to change your perspective of what going home is. If you go home 3 times a year, you will begin to notice the difference by the end of the year.
Tips about going home? Personally, I find that talking to people about your experience is by far the best part. Your family and friends will always love to hear what you have to share with them, even if you’re simply telling them about the amazing fish balls you had. Talking to people helps them understand how your experience has shaped who you are, so that they can also appreciate the difference in you. What’s more important, however, is that through talking to people about your own experience, the exchange of ideas and perspectives is often encouraged. At TGS, you will be provided with the latest technology, something I wish I had when I was a boarding school student. You will be able to connect with your parents and family and friends in a much more convenient way. You will be able to record a video or take a picture and send them home right away. You can blog about your experience and publish it while you’re on the road. All of these will be extremely effective when you share and discuss your adventures with your family and friends at home.
As I am getting ready for landing, I look out the window again and am already thinking about the time I’ll spend with my friends and family. Then the pilot says, “Welcome to Hong Kong”.
Really, there is no place like home.