I tried to write my critique in an argumentative and constructive way, all while being a bit provoking in order to entertain and get the point across. If you haven’t read said criticism yet, you can always click on my byline and find it there.
On a more subjective note, the entire semester has resulted in a lot of personal growth. The people I’ve talked to and the things I’ve seen have taught me a lot, and in some ways helped me find my passions in life. I have learned that injustice is what motivates me, and that I want to work in a position where I can help people.
It would be a huge cliché to say that I have discovered myself on this trip. Yet, I will recommend that everyone study abroad, because it is true that you learn a lot about yourself and other cultures. I have personally gained the insight that Americans value individual freedom over everything else.
I've also learned that I have this strange love-hate relationship with America, and that I probably won’t be able to stay away for very long.
When I leave, I will especially miss the thrill of experiencing something new all the time. I’ll miss being the weird foreigner who can always excuse saying something stupid by reminding people that English isn’t their first language. It’s similarly very relaxing to be an exchange student, since oftentimes the grades do not transfer. Now, I have to be worried about all that again, just like every other college student.
The university sports and the school spirit are also American customs that we Europeans are sadly missing out on. Additionally, I’ll miss Uber and popcorn covered in butter — why is this not a thing at home?
I’m going to be missing out on tailgating, frat parties and road trips, and I have to say goodbye to all the lovely Americans that I have met. The only thing I will not be sad about leaving behind is chicken: You Southerners looooove chicken. Fry it, roast it, put it on a waffle.
I also have to admit that being surprised about the price of things when I pay, because the tax and tip isn’t included, is going to be missed very little…
There are obviously a bunch of things that I have missed while I’ve been gone, too, besides family and friends. The biggest ones being the Danish cuisine, being able to bike properly and public transportation.
My final advice is for anyone that ever meets a foreign exchange student: Start a conversation with them and invite them into your friend circle! They will be the most loyal friends you have ever had, and they are often some of the most fun — the reason being that they don’t know anyone when they first come here.
Thank you for everything, UNC. This has been a great six months, and I plan to be back soon — even though there’s no place like home.