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Students in a long tail boat in Indonesia. Photo by Aaron Slosberg, Indonesia Semester.

Dear Family…

As we enjoyed the last couple of days together, students and instructors discussed what they had learned, what the course meant, and who they were thankful for. During one activity students wrote anonymous words for you: their families, friends, and loved ones.

As they board their long flight back to the USA (and the Philippines), the students would love for you to read their thoughts on coming home and begin to examine how you can help your children readjust to a place that may in some ways now feel as strange and foreign as Indonesia once did.

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Dear family, friends, and loved ones, I need you to know…

…I need you to know I changed, and I need your support in that.

…I need you to know that I’ve grown a bunch on this trip, so I’m now even more appreciative of everything at home.

…I need you to know I’m angry at how the world works, and shit needs to change and people need to wake up. Also, know that if I seem shut down, talk to me.

…I need you to know that I am excited to be more independent, but I also need the space to do so—to try new things and sometimes to fail. #x-phase

…I need you to know that it feels weird coming home, and I’m not sure what to expect.

…I need you to know that I am capable of traveling on my own.

…I need you to know that I fell in love on this trip with a girl and with the world. I found so much more love inside of me for the ocean and all of the life that it contains.

…I need you to know that when I get off the plane I want a cheeseburger from Five Guys with lettuce, tomato, mayo, bacon and french fries, and a root beer. Thanks!

…I need you to know that I’ve realized everything bad is driven by profit, and I’m mad about it!

…I need you to know that I’ve experienced and witnessed every human emotion.

…I need you to know that so much happened on this trip that it’s impossible to share it all now (or maybe ever), but if you give me time and keep asking questions I’ll keep telling you about it.

…I need you to know that I’ve changed more on this trip than you’re probably comfortable with. Coming home I’m going to need new things like your attention to new ideas and your trust in my ability and the decisions I make that are best for me.