It is strange how time flies. Just last year around this time, I got accepted to a semester abroad at NJIT for my media design bachelor. Half a year ago, I left my home in Germany to come live in the US. Not even two months ago, that semester abroad came to an end. This week, I am already back home in Germany for two weeks. If I could turn back time, I would – just so I could experience it all over again.
But time doesn’t turn back; it only moves forward. Just like one of the other exchange students said at the beginning of last semester: “Just wait. It will be over just like that.” He snapped his fingers and – poof. He was right. I am not in Newark, New Jersey anymore. I am no longer a resident of Laurel Hall, nor a student at NJIT. It was over, just like that.
My time at NJIT will never leave me, however. I made friends all over the world – in Spain and the Netherlands, in Egypt and Jordan, in the Caribbean, India and the US, of course. The classes I took brought me a step closer to becoming a journalist who can work — write — internationally. It was a different experience than back here in Germany. At Furtwangen University, the one I attend in Germany, we don’t take attendance and we barely ever get homework. We only have one final exam at the end of the semester that determines our grade – there are no midterms, no extra credits, no assignments. At NJIT, I enjoyed getting more than one chance to determine my grade – although I sometimes missed not having any assignments during the semester.
What I enjoyed and will miss the most (apart from the people and the city), however, are the events on campus. I know that NJIT isn’t the biggest university you could attend but compared to what I’m used to at Furtwangen University, there was just so much more to do on campus. I remember the first week where one event came after the other; I remember the student involvement fair where I signed up for way too many clubs but actually joined only three – and I remember Homecoming when I got to see Jason Derulo with all the other exchange students. I wrote about that concert for The Vector, too, and writing these lines makes me smile because I had so much fun being a part of the newspaper. At the same time, it’s making me sad because this will be my last article.
Being an exchange student at NJIT and living so close to New York City made me feel like the main character in a movie. I wanted to feel like that for just a bit longer. I wanted to go to weekly club meetings of The Vector and the Minerva for just a bit longer; I wanted to attend my Practical Journalism class and watch documentaries in my Documentary Film and Media class for just a bit longer. To share my dorm room with the best roomie ever, to go to GDS with all my friends and to drive to the city – I wish I could’ve done all of that for just a little bit longer.
Then again, no amount of time would ever be enough. I would always want more, just a teeny-tiny bit more. So, I guess it’s okay that my time in the U.S. as an exchange student at NJIT is over. I guess it’s okay that I’m back home now, with my loved ones that I missed. I guess it’s okay I’m missing my other home now, too. All the missing in the world could not make me want to take that time back. I would always do it again – and I hope that you will, too. Go to that country. Make it your home for a while. Take the laughter and the tears and the happiness and the heartbreak – take all of it and make it yours.
That’s what I did. That’s what I’ll keep doing, until we meet again.
– Alicia Tedesco, former exchange student at NJIT & senior staff writer at The Vector