I'm home. It feels nice. I've been reunited with my family and my girlfriend and the rest of my friends here, and I'm happy because I have really missed them over the past three weeks. However, the happiness is a little bittersweet. I am now done with my ILC experience. I did everything. All those months spent thinking about what it's going to be like seemed like just yesterday and all that work put into getting myself into the Macroeconomics program paid off. And now I'm done with it all.
I really did learn a lot during my time there. Most of what I learned was inside the classroom, about how markets work, supply and demand, government intervention, and unemployment (among many other things). I also learned a lot about myself. I learned that my legs can indeed get sunburned. I learned that there is so much of the world that I don't know and there is so much that I will never know. I learned about how different people from different places think differently and how diverse environments really do promote a better intellectual dialogue. I think the most important thing I learned is that everyone is different, and that I should try to explore the differences in people instead of thinking of them as weird or different. I think that everyone has something special to offer and sometimes it might take a little bit of searching.
All those things I learned because of the friends I made during my time there. They were really different than the type of people I normally hang out with, not just in style or way of speaking but in their culture and their background and their geolocation. I made friends with French people, Turkish people, Spanish people, Taiwanese people, Japanese people, and people from New Jersey and New York. They showed me the huge diversity that exists in the world, and yet despite how different we were, we weren't really that different at all. It sounds contradictory, but we could all agree on basic idealisms, like human rights. That may be a bad example, but it's hard to think of all the things we talked about; all our conversations have become one thing in my head. When we disagreed, however, it was never in argument. If we disagreed, we would explain our points of view and discuss it and learn from each other. We are not always right, and to better our understanding of something, it can really help to talk to someone who thinks the polar opposite - another thing I learned here.
I'm going to miss those friends. I'm so glad I live in the age of Facebook and Skype and texting so that I can stay in touch with these people. I'm also glad that the ILC gave me this great opportunity. I really can't thank everyone involved enough, I had an amazing time. Thank you.