My time as an exchange student was a period of many firsts. First travel out of my continent Africa and even my first flight. I couldn’t tell if I was more excited for the flight than the exchange itself. Most importantly I was living away from my family for the first time and I had no choice but to adjust. I have made very many friends, some of whom I may not see again when I go back home. The many moments of laughter with them were the best for me. It is amazing to see how similar we all are when the labels are dropped. I never imagined I would become tight friends with an Asian girl to the point that I have to fight tears when I think of leaving her.
I have a month to go before I have to leave, but it still feels surreal that I got accepted to be on this amazing program. The acceptance came at one of my lowest moments in life and it was the breath of life that I needed at the time to keep going. My life goals have become more globalized than ever before. I now know I want to further my education and give back to my community as a social entrepreneur.
As one of the lucky participants of Global UGRAD, I feel like I owe my community some of this goodness. All the things I have learnt while living in American culture are worth teaching to people back in my country. I have developed a new sense of cultural relativism that is levels above just being taught in class. I have met people from countries I didn’t even know existed. I have gotten used to the stereotypes about Kenyans that people had when they met me. The difference is my reaction to them is more calm and understanding. In the meantime I am trying to savor every moment that is left of this piece of heaven and forever remain grateful for the memories I made in Murray, Kentucky. This is by far the best decision I ever made and the most memorable year of my life.
Written by Rebecca Obonyo, Kenya, 2017-2018 Global UGRAD student at Murray State University