By DeNae Thomas
The time is approaching when we will have to say goodbye to our overseas experience and board a plane back to the United States. For Heidelberg students, finals end April 9, and the group flight from Germany to California departs the morning of April 10. Moore Haus closes the same evening.
While some Heidelbergers are remaining in Europe to travel with friends and family for a few weeks after the end of the year, we will never again be in the same picturesque setting with the same group of irreplaceable friends.
There is a definite mix of emotions that comes with this realization. It now seems that each of us have a foot in Germany, a foot back in our hometown, and a foot in Malibu.
“I feel ready to go home but not ready to be gone,” sophomore Jason Palmer said.
Although many of us are sad to leave, there is also a feeling of being ready to return home. Some of us feel that, although our time in Europe has been wonderful, it is the right time for it to end.
“I am ready to see my family and friends at home,” sophomore Suzanne Sivertsen said. “It is time.”
What makes the return more comforting is the fact that, next year, we get to return to another breathtaking setting, Malibu, and to our friends back on campus. However, things inevitably change when a person is away for a year. It would be naïve for any of us to assume that everything is going to be the same on campus as when we left.
Those of us who have been in Heidelberg for a year will not know the current freshman class or next year’s freshman class. For us sophomores, we won’t know many of the students who were overseas our freshman year. This realization would not have changed our decision to attend the Heidelberg program, but we still have to face the reality of how few people we will know when we return.
The fact that we will come home to a changed campus can be seen as a positive thing. When thinking about leaving Heidelberg, I have realized that things simply cannot stay the way they are. Change is healthy and normal. Life must move forward and people must evolve and continue growing.
“Although I am really sad to say goodbye to the experiences I have here in Heidelberg, I am really excited to see what the future has to offer in Malibu,” sophomore Michele Nakahara said.
I cannot stay in Moore Haus forever, nor would I want to. The students coming next year need the opportunity to experience the same things we were able to experience here this year. Similarly, we all have new friends to acquire, new memories to make and new lessons to learn back on the Malibu campus.
This year, everyone in the Heidelberg program has grown personally, mentally, spiritually, academically and even physically. The changes that occurred are part of what made the experience so wonderful. We are grateful for the times we have had and are looking forward to the future with anticipation and excitement. There is no other option but to move forward.
“Leaving Heidelberg is like a bittersweet symphony,” sophomore Erin Dilbeck said.
April 04, 2002