Returning and Reminiscing

by Olivia Bucherer-Ezer, University of Toronto, Canada

It’s been two months since returning home from Toronto and 3756708911 “HOW WAS IT?!?!” conversations later, I thought I’d reflect a little on here about what a whirlwind of a year its been. 

I have to admit – and I feel like a broken record with how many times I’ve repeated this – it does feel like a bit of a fever dream. Plopping back into your childhood bedroom, seeing family and friends and it all feeling just as it did when you left does make you question where the hell you’ve been over the past 7 months. You sort of half expect everything and everyone to have changed, and you be practically unrecognisable to other people… it is (thankfully) much more underwhelming than that. 

Underwhelming may be the wrong word because coming home to everything being just as you remember is exactly what you need after completely wild, new and foreign experience.

For me, it was only really when I reconnected with people I’d met in Toronto that it didn’t feel all too in my head. An exchange gives you a lust for travel and even more so when you have friends across the world you are able to visit.

it’s giving mama mia

I recently took a trip over to the beautiful Oslo in Norway to see my friend ahead of her Birthday. Every year she throws a party at her summer house where all her friends get together to celebrate the end of the academic year and summer ahead. It was so special seeing her after 6 months of being apart and to meet all of her wonderful friends and of course see her life in Oslo, a place I had never considered visiting, but certainly will be returning to. 

the caps were ironic…

Another wonderful reminder of the incredible connections made was when my friend flew over from Australia, beginning his Europe travels in London along with some of his friends from home. It was again, such a blessing to reconnect, especially given how far he’d travelled… the ball’s now in my court to take the trek down under.  

The past month has allowed me to reflect in such appreciation of the incredible opportunity the exchange year gave me. Not only did it allow me to move to a brand new place and experience a new culture, meet new people and travel over the period I was abroad, it has given me countless opportunities to continue on these kinds of adventures since returning home. 

The connections you make over the exchange year are truly remarkable and seeing those familiar faces outside of Toronto has really solidified for me that the exchange wasn’t a fever dream but rather a life-changing, long-lasting beauty of an experience. 

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