My time in Australia has come to an end. But, I don’t think this means good-bye. One thing I have noticed is that Australians almost always say see you later… regardless of whether you will see them later or not! In a way, I think that I probably will see them later though.
Australia represented many things for me. My first time for an extended period abroad, an opportunity to learn about environmental management in another country, a chance to make friends, and a great adventure full of cuddling koalas and playing with kangaroos. Of course, all of this did not happen. One cannot cuddle a koala unless they want to pay a lot of money for less than a minute of cuddling and a photo. There were many times when I felt homesick or like I did not belong… I guess culture shock is something real no matter how silly it sounds.
During this time, I also had many amazing experiences. I visited many different areas of Australia and realized that the culture here varies about as much as it does in the states. The further south one goes, the more rural the people and landscape appear to be. With this also comes better food, in my opinion. I learned that some places just seem like I am still in America due to the Americanization of Australian cultures, and other times I feel like I am in a movie that couldn’t be more Australian if it tried.
I learned that I prefer studying at a small university and that there are a lot more opportunities for me after graduation then I could have even imagined before. Maybe I will get a year long work visa and lead trail rides in New Zealand or maybe I will lead expeditions in Alaska. Maybe I will do research work on frogs that will keep me in the field for six months making me realize that going back to school is not such a bad idea.
I am so lucky to have had this opportunity. I have been able to grow closer to existing friends, make new
ones,and have grown more comfortable with myself as well. Studying abroad my last, first semester of senior year was a difficult decision, but in the end I would not change a thing.