After 5 months, 10 trips, 3 orientations, 1 canceled flight back home due to maintenance and an amazing semester, I’m finally on a plane back to the States. I let myself ignore this reality for a long time, but now it’s here and I don’t know how to feel. I am truly excited to see my family and friends again, but it’s hard to leave all the good friends I made in Australia. Now that I’m at the end, I want to go back to the beginning. Remember that list of expectations from my first post? Let’s see how well I anticipated what would happen…
To see some crazy, cool wildlife and for some of the animals to make me frightened for my life Check! Mostly. Thankfully I was never in any real danger, but I saw a lot of incredibly cool wildlife
To feel completely overwhelmed Check. At multiple points
To be able to find most of the food I’m familiar with. Check, but sometimes things differed slightly. To get an American type milkshake in Australia you have to order a thick shake, tater tots are called potato gems, the list goes on.
To feel homesick anyway, in part because I’ll… Definitely check.
Find the landscape noticeably different from the US It wasn’t as different as I thought actually. Along the coasts, the landscape is fairly similar. The biggest difference is the trees. Eucalypts look quite different from American trees because they drop their lower branches as they grow.
Learn how much residential college life is like US Greek life Check obviously. I understand where the comparison comes from, but I think it’s apples and oranges.
To take some of the best classes of my student life Extreme check. I was blown away by the quality and depth of the zoology courses I took.
To get sunburnt Check! But only once at the very beginning of the semester
To try Vegemite Check! Not a fan, it’s just like pouring salt on your toast
To have an experience unlike anything I’ve had before Check. And it’s left me itching for more
I’ve just re-read all my old blog posts (both published and those only partially finished). It was a great reminder of what a crazy adventure this has been. I almost forgot about the beginning rush of excitement of coming to a new country because Australia has become such a home to me. It was easy to gloss over the homesickness and culture shock when I’ve gotten so used to being in Melbourne. I lost track of how much I’ve grown because it happened slowly over a long period. I think that’s what worries me about going home – that I won’t fit in as well as I used to. It scares me even more though that I may just slide back into my old role and the different person I became will disappear. I don’t want to forget how beautiful, amazing, meaningful, life-changing and fun my semester abroad was. I don’t think I will, especially since I have so many fantastic new friends to remind me of it for the rest of my life. So to end this, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who made this semester possible for me, who supported me and who made this semester the wonderful experience that it was. I can never express properly how much this has meant to me.
Over and Out,