There are two cases of the て form used that I do not understand in this sentence:
The context is someone returning from overseas exchange.
When I usually see the て form used like this, I assume it means "and". Usually being used to connect two clauses together.
I didn't study enough "and" I couldn't pass the exam.
That person is kind, smart, "and" easy to understand.
But I don't understand why in both cases the て form is used in first sentence.
Judging from the words used, I could translate the sentence as:
It was really good studying abroad. I thank the various adults and friends that have changed me.
I don't see how I can fit the word "and" into the translation.
One more thing I don't understand is how is 方 used in the sentence? I only understand 方 to be used for comparisons or "way of doing".
If possible I would appreciate a more accurate translation to help me understand the grammar.