Everyone who has been on a study abroad program has different experience, and I am proud that you are making it your own. Even though this exchange was not fit completely to your expectations, I am amazed how adaptable and resilient you are to the situations you are experiencing. There were good times, but there are also times that people around you made you feel awful. The space that you are living isn’t great at all. Remember that their actions and mistakes are not your responsibility nor your fault. Remember that you can only do so much as a person to draw your own boundaries. You are assertive in a kind fashion.
I am excited for you about your future. Even though at this exact moment there are many struggles of loneliness/ lack of support system, I am happy that you are at least trying your best to take care of yourself – eating, sleeping, and self-caring. No one is there to take care of you when you are sick, but you are capable of making the right decisions for yourself.
I am proud that you are trying your best to understand both Pakeha and Maori cultures in New Zealand. I love how you try to be a part of the culture here through learning and observing. You always ask questions you don’t know and not pretend you understand.
You have met some really amazing souls who inspire you to be a better human being. You have met others who are so ignorant and awful that your mood is ruined. However, they don’t have that power over you, and they can’t make you sink to their levels of crazy. I love how much you are willing to open up and learn about different people. I love how you are not afraid to talk to strangers even after getting hurt over and over again by unwelcoming individuals.
Even when you feel low, you allow yourself to embrace your problems and emotions instead of avoiding them. You are so brave to do so. This is something everybody faces, but everyone has a different method of solving. I am always amazed how you don’t shy away from honestly understanding the problems and finding answers – even when you are afraid.
I am so proud that you gave yourself this adventure and challenge before graduating. You are so much more capable of surviving in adulthood than you imagine.
You are strong. You have ambitions. And you have dreams.
I love you because you are me.
You are almost there.