As an international student at Flinders, and a student in my third year of university, I am in a unique position to talk about home. As defined via a quick Google search, home is: “The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a house hold or family”. As college students, we share a unique definition of where our home is, and where it will be for years to come. This place is different for others and has a range of different meanings.
For some, college is a time in their lives where they spend long periods of time away from home, from where they were raised, from where there parents live. As college students, the anticipation of moving out of our parents’ homes and into a new environment can be very exciting. Outside of our parents’ domain, we learn things about ourselves; our preferences, our likes and dislikes, and who we are as people. During this period in our lives we are considered adults; we can vote, fight for our country, and if we choose to, partake in the consumption of alcohol.
If these things are so good, why are we tempted to return to the comfort of our family home? Is it for a home-cooked meal? To have mum do a load of laundry for us? To hang out with high school acquaintances? Or to satisfy the longing for something familiar?
Over time, I have observed that “home” loses it appeal. Your parents may start to look at you as a finical responsibility and want you to finish your course ASAP. Your parents may get tired of whipping your ass and cleaning up after you. The close friendship you had with your best mates slowly starts to fade into the dolly days of high school, and that feeling of familiarity is harder to grasp than it once was. To compensate for these feelings, we do things to make our current situation feel like home, such as making new friends, decorating living spaces, cooking our favorite meals, and doing things that comfort us.
But how long does this feeling last? Surely we cannot stay in Uni forever! As students we are eager to graduate and take the best job opportunity that comes along. Often this means relocating to a different state or sometimes even a different country.
For the semester, Adelaide has and will be my home. It has been where I have made a base camp for my travels, where I return to sleep, eat, and relax at the end of the day. However, I don’t feel permanent here because of the situation I am in. Soon I will run out of money, my visa will expire, and I will retreat to my home university to finish my degree. But who is going to stop me if I decide I wanted to extend my visa, get a job, and start to permanently reside in Australia? While my family and friends may be disappointed in this decision, they cannot change what I decide to do, and at the end of the day it’s my life and I will live it the way I want!
For the next couple of years, for most of us, Adelaide will be our home. But what about after university? Are you going to move back to your hometown and back into your parents’ house? This is unlikely and not desired by most. As university graduates, we will have the ability to define where home is; to change where we live. the ability to go places, see things, put our knowledge and skills to the test.
For me, home is not 4956 Caribous Drive Charlotte North Carolina 39986. Home is the future, home is where I make it, home can be carried with me in the form in a backpack if need be, home is where I will raise a family, and home isn’t what it used to be.
Words by Keelan Bozman