Advice, Communication, Observations, Student Exchange, Travel

August: Humboldt County

In August 2012, I arrived in Humboldt County. To embark on a journey that I thought would lead to the discovery of a wildly different culture to my own, to the discovery of new perspectives, new ideas, new relationships, to the discovery of both amazing and disgusting food. But I discovered more than I bargained for because I was not expecting to discover myself.

My time at Humboldt State University seemed to be nothing but challenge after challenge. Some would have put it down to homesickness, others might have seen that I wasn’t content working toward a degree I was no longer happy studying. Don’t get me wrong, I was still determined to pursue photography, I simply didn’t have the strength to pursue my studies of it. I knew my time in America was limited and I made choices, I prioritised. I threw myself into my social life and travelling America. I did so because I didn’t want to spend so much of my time trying to complete assignments that had no bearing on my discovery of the culture I had long been fascinated by. Nor did I want to capture – and therefore interrupt my experience of – my friendships, adventures and discoveries. I wanted to experience the culture – and in my mind that was very much the opposite of what taking photographs would allow me to do. It would only ever be a superficial documentation if I did not have any deeper level of understanding and would serve as a reminder of the experience I had missed out on.

Despite failing half of my classes, I don’t have any regrets. I gained strengths socially and emotionally through friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime. My confidence has been at an all time high since my exchange because the people I met on exchange believed in me. My personal identity was strengthened by peers who accepted me wholly – with all of my faults. Funnily enough, putting my insecurities on show allowed me to accept those parts of myself because others had accepted them without question.

CK.

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Student Exchange, Travel

Reflecting on Exchange

It’s been nearly six months since I left the United States and other than a few conversations here or there I haven’t thoroughly reflected on the discoveries I made during my student exchange. You might be wondering “Well why now?” I guess it’s mostly because I’ve returned to university this week and it’s solidified the fact that I am a different person now. Continue reading

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Student Exchange, Travel

I Dropped My Wallet in a River

No, that’s not a euphemism for anything. I was walking back to my room after going to see Jordan’s film “Remnant’s of the Past.” when Courtney informed me that it was snowing in New York. I was so happy I did a little skip. Courtney laughed and said “Did you just skip?” I said ” I am so happy that I’m even going to do a heel click.” I was walking across the tree bridge so it was a little cramped but I did a little jump and clicked my heels. Then my wallet that I had tucked under my arm fell onto the railing and bounced into the creek that flows beneath it. I ran to get it out but I was scared of falling in my self, so Courtney came down and picked it out of the stream of frigid cold water. We continued to laugh up the hill until I realised my ticket to the New York City Ballet’s Nutcracker performance was in there. So I ran up the hill to get to my hair dryer.

CK.

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Photographs, Student Exchange

Mid-Term Crisis

So this was by far the most stressful week of University I’ve ever had. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that my first seven weeks of classes were very creatively unproductive. I could not get into the groove for so long and my creative brain slightly atrophied, so I was left with 8 weeks worth of work that needed to be completed in a week so that I could go down to San Francisco for Treasure Island Music Festival, which I have been looking forward to before I was even accepted to go on exchange. Continue reading

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Celebrations, Student Exchange

My Birthday: Extended

On Wednesday, I received two cards. One card from Mum, Lauren and Rayne. And a hand written letter from Rhiannon. Both of which made me cry. I read the letter that Rhiannon wrote which started me crying and then I opened the card from Mum, Lauren and Rayne, where Rayne had drawn on the inside of the card and I couldn’t hold the tears back any more. I had felt for days that I needed to cry and it was kind of a relief to be able to. Continue reading

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