Defining Home

Sam Laughlin Swansea University, Wales


May 1, 2018

As much as travel and visiting new places around Europe has been a frequent theme in my blog posts, it struck me that not enough time has been spent on the place I’ve actually been living.

It’s truly a shame that its gone overlooked because Swansea has served the most important role in this whole experience. That role has become providing a second home.

No matter where I get the chance to travel to and experience, every time I return it feels more and more like I’m coming to a place I can call home. The idea of “home” is an interesting one to think about as the definition is not always so clear.

For my whole life, Nebraska will always be home. Whether it’s in Omaha, Lincoln, or anywhere else in the state, i feel the most comfortable being on that patch of dirt. As my time living in Swansea has grown ever longer, I’ve began to think about that definition of home more and more.

Originally, I thought home could be defined as the sole place I’m from. A single location on the map. I’ve found that it’s not so simple; that perhaps home is a mindset more than anything.

When I first arrived at my flat in the student village I certainly felt far from home. 4,200 miles away from home to be exact. But at that time a lot of me was still back in the States and I was yet to discover how to feel comfortable in an unfamiliar place.

Naturally, as time went on, I settled in. Distracting myself by making friends, delving into school work, and finding out the best parts of Swansea. Before I knew it I was calling my flat home and whatever feeling of homesickness I had during the first week had gone for good. 

In the case of studying abroad it is interesting because in the end you know there is a flight back to the U.S. waiting for you. This can cause the sense of home to feel temporary but I think it’s anything but that. 

This new home I’ve created is always going to stay with me, and it doesn’t make my original home any less of one. 

This whole process and realization has taught me that there is so much less to fear about the unknown than I originally thought. Whether it’s living in a new place or the unknown nature of the future, I’ve found that a person is much more in control of their situation than they often might think. Maybe it’s the fear of failure or prospect of unfamiliarity that causes us to be pessimistic towards uncertainty but ultimately we are all built to adapt. 

And perhaps most importantly, one can never realize this until they take the leap of faith into that unknown.


Wales Semester