Well the time has come. This point was inevitable, and while at times I may have been looking forward to, right now I am dreading it. I can’t believe I’m leaving in barely over a week, and our last week we will be on our last excursion.
As an earlier Blog post detailed how during my time here in Kenya I have adopted the name Peter. Peter is actually my middle name, and of high significance to me, but I never have gone by it, until this semester. With Wyatt being a challenge to pronounce and explain to most people, I just revert to saying my name is Peter. Back home I have, and always will go by Wyatt.
Individuals who work with study abroad programs always say that in their experience the hardest part for students is returning home. Many students say that they are a different person after study abroad, but I don’t like this narrative. I like to think that I am not a different person but someone who has grown from the experiences I have had. I am returning home to family, friends, classmates, and mentors who have followed my blog but haven’t experienced the same things I have, and only so much can be conveyed through writing. Having grown professionally, personally, emotionally, and any other way you could imagine, returning home to an environment where few individuals know or even understand what I experienced I expect to be quite the challenge.
This semester I have solidified my career goals, expanded my academic knowledge learned a bit of a new language, learned and adapted to a new culture, learned to cook new foods, made countless friends I have to leave behind, travelled across Kenya, and generally grew as a member of our global society. All of these experiences have certainly made me grow as a person, but it’s hard to explain the experience
Now, as the time approaches to go home I realize that I am returning to an environment that ‘Wyatt’ left. But I am returning months later after these experiences as ‘Peter’.
Since first really looking at this semester in-depth, back in June, during my Intro to Study Abroad Class with Dr. Blake Bennett, my leading question has always been “how can I make this semester mean something, and continue using these experiences beyond my time here in Kenya and my time in school?” I don’t want this experience to end as soon as I am back to “Wyatt”.
Here is how I am framing this “coming home experience”: ‘Peter’ will always be a part of me, even though I am back to the ‘Wyatt’ side of experiences the memories here will always share a special part of me.
I will always be ‘Wyatt Peter’, never just ‘Wyatt’ and never just ‘Peter’. At times, these experiences may fall back and not be on the forefront of my mind (like our middle names) but they will always be there to make me who I am.
Maybe one day I will return as “Dr. Wyatt Peter”. Using what I learned here to shape my future and push me to work harder, and using my education in the coming years to allow me to make an even larger impact one day.