Goodbyes are hard. Let’s not say them.

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It’s pouring rain today, and the campus is filled with students going to and fro between finals, the library, places that serve coffee and food, and their dorm rooms. Amidst the stress and trying very hard not to focus too much on the semester coming to the end I went and got lunch with Hanna (from Egypt) and Marie (from the Czech Republic). In our orientation week we won a quiz, and had been planning to all three of us have a celebratory lunch. Which ended up only happening today (whoops!).

We sat over big plates of Pad Thai and had a good hour long chat about life. About friends, family, university, the future, GW, our exchange experience overall. Sure, we’ve had chats about all these things before – but now we’ve nearly come to the end there’s a certain tone or mood to them. Every conversation I have with a fellow exchange student is shaded by discussions about where everyone’s is traveling, when their flight home is, whether people have internships. It’s the realization that this semester is coming to and end, and we have to actually think about what we’re all doing next. Some of us have a few more semesters of university to go home to, and some of us are truly finished with our undergrad forever. We’re all looking towards post-student life, and whatever that many entail. It’s pretty darn daunting to be honest!

As we finished walking back to our dorms, I was about to say goodbye. But when I started to I realized this wasn’t a ‘bye, see you in a day or two!’, It might end up being a proper goodbye. So we decided it wasn’t going to be. Instead it was a ‘goodbye, I’ll see you later this week, and we’ll say goodbye properly then!’. But I don’t really want to do that either.

The marvelous thing about friendships and technology is that the latter helps you maintain the former. Thanks to email, Facebook and Skype the friendships I made here won’t just be maintained in the occasional letter. We have instant connections to people all over the world. It’s something I’m very glad for.

At the start of semester in Orientation we wrote goals down for our semester. One of mine was to work on having a ‘global network’ of friends. A pretty silly name for it really. But thanks to GW Exchange, I’m going home knowing that’s what I actually have. We come from all over the place, and leave with a variety of friends, acquaintances, and contacts and memories we’ll have for an awfully long time.

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