Before I went abroad I had a friend tell me a month by month schedule of how I was going to feel. I don’t remember the details but it was something like the first month will be awesome, you’ll be homesick the second month and so forth. She was trying to assure me that time would fly and the second bout of long distance with my boyfriend wouldn’t be too hard. I’ve been thinking about that lately. I obviously wasn’t quite that simple but I definitely have gone through several changes of attitude lately.
It was about four weeks ago that I was desperately homesick. I’d just finished traveling by
myself for a week so I was pretty lonely. I was about halfway through my time away and really feeling the distance. I was acutely aware of everything I was missing out on back home and didn’t want to miss out on anything else – especially not graduation after which my boyfriend and many close friends would be leaving Whitman. University of Melbourne is smart enough to know that it was about that time in the semester when the international students start struggling so they sent out an email to let us know we had resources. I decided to take them up on it and met with their study abroad and exchange coordinator who really had nothing to tell me other than I should try harder and I could get counseling if I wanted. These were not what I needed to hear. So I continued what I was doing: hanging out with my new friends, going to class and enjoying all the down time that is so rare back home.
Turns out time was all I needed. Not only was I growing closer and closer with people here, but my classes were getting cooler. Labs that were field trips to the zoo continued to take me to new places. New labs started meeting and involved amazing things like learning how to artificially inseminate a cow and going on a tour of the animal shelter. Assignments were finally due and I needed to buckle down to do work. I played on my college’s soccer team, celebrated birthdays and spent a 3-day weekend in Tasmania. I swung to the complete opposite end and found myself awfully tempted by my friends’ suggestions that I stay. “It’s happened before,” they’d say “you could totally do it”. I dreamt of finishing my last year at Whitman and then coming back to Melbourne to get my Masters Degree under the supervision of my favorite professor here. I could come back to University College and become a Resident Tutor. Some of my friends would still be here so I know I’d love the living situation and the department I’d be in at Uni.
Well, here I am now. I have less than 50 days left in Australia and my attitude has changed again. I needed that time to fall completely head over heels in love with this beautiful country. I don’t know if I would have gotten over my homesickness nearly as much if I hadn’t. But at the end of the day, I do want to come home. I want to spend my senior year with the people who know me best. The people I’ve grown together with over the past three years. After that, who knows. Maybe I will end up back in Australia someday but that’s not my focus anymore. I don’t need to figure out the fastest way back here because I can appreciate every bit of my time here without needing to make it my life.
That’s a new feeling for me. I’ve always clung to what I had lest I lose it. There’s something wonderful about using my time here as best I can and then just letting it go. I had hoped that going abroad would help me grow as a person, but I didn’t realize just how much it would. It’s been an amazing experience and I can’t wait to experience the rest of it.
Over and Out,