Jane Takeda Reflects on Upcoming Return

Jane Takeda Reflects on Upcoming Return


I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by. It feels like yesterday that I was in the Portland airport saying an emotional goodbye to my family, feeling the most scared that I have ever felt in my life.  When you think about everything I’ve had to do to adjust to life in Finland- make new friends, learn a new language, adopt a new way of living- a year is really no time at all. In just over a month I will have to say emotional goodbyes to all of the amazing people who have made this year the best of my life. It is hard for me to surmise with justice all that I am feeling right now into writing. It is particularly difficult because the two most overwhelming feelings are so contradictory. On one hand, I am feeling extremely excited to see my family and friends, whose letters and emails helped me through the difficult first months of my exchange. On the other hand I feel inexpressibly depressed, about leaving my new country and all the people whom I have come to love during this year.

Whenever I meet somebody new they always ask me why I came to Finland. When I tell them that I chose to come here, they almost always tell me that I am crazy for even leaving the US. My friends are always saying that there isn’t anything cool in Finland; I always tell them that it is the people who make a place, not the number of shops or amusement parks. So when people ask me if I am excited to be leaving Finland I always say no. Yes, I am excited to go back to see my family and friends, but to leave Finland? No, I am not excited to leave.

During this year I have made many lifelong friends. They are such an important part of my life that I can’t even imagine life without them, yet I will have to leave them in just forty-two days, nineteen of which will be spent traveling around Europe with around 90 other exchange students. While this year has been the most challenging year of my life, it has also been the most amazing. I have learned so much, a new language, a new way of life and a lot about myself. I am more confident and more independent. I have made so many incredible friends who I look forward to visiting in the future.  So even though I have to leave, it isn’t goodbye forever, just a “see you later.”

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