When I first thought about study abroad, I imagined a pretty smooth sailing ship. What I got was the majority of things going wrong. So I thought I would outline what has happened and how I have coped- while still having an amazing experience in Australia.
What I Expected: Easily talking to my friends and family from my iPhone and computer.
What Actually Happened: Within weeks, I fell into an inter-tidal mud flat while doing a crab behaviour study and fried my phone. Then, last week my computer literally began melting from the heat and crashed (which is why I have no pictures this week). Also, my watch broke so I cannot tell the time either.
Why It Is Okay: I am experiencing my first full digital detox in years. My friends still somehow manage to find me. I still make it to class on time. I spend the majority of my time actually looking at the environment and people around me. The good news is I do not look like a creep because everyone else is too busy looking at their phone to notice!
What I Expected: All the fresh air and healthy eating means no getting sick this semester!
What Actually Happened: I sprained my ankle, got an infected tick bite which made about 15 lymph nodes swell up and resulted in me not being able to move my neck, multiple colds, and a random rash which resembled chicken pox all over my entire body.
Why It Is Okay: Thank goodness Australia requires international students to purchase health insurance! I initially made the mistake of going to a clinic with a $50 co-pay, but I soon found a place where there was no co-pay and they filed my claim for me. Heaps of medicine and rest mean I am feeling fine in the summer time!
What I Expected: Good grades to boost my GPA and help me get into graduate school!
What Actually Happened: The learning environment in Australia is drastically different compared to Hanover. The teachers are not interested in helping you, the majority of learning is done independently, and the grading system is harder than the states- students are thrilled to get a 70%.
Why It Is Okay: I have developed independent working skills, which are apparently really useful in “the real world.” I also have a lot more appreciationg for the learning environment I have been lucky enough to experience for three years at Hanover. Plus, America is one of the countries most preoccupied with grades. So, apparently my worth is not determined by my GPA?
Overall, I think these ordeals have made me an all around, more well-rounded individual. Dealing with these obstacles had taught me how to take care of myself in difficult situations and to appreciate every moment I experience. I just keep in mind one of my favourite Dahl quotes- when nothing goes right, go left.