My time in Australia seems like so long ago by now. I’m glad I’ll have the pictures, blog posts, journal entries, and memories to remind me of all my adventures abroad. Before leaving the US, I’m not really sure I believed that I would really go to Australia to study and travel for 4 months. I kept taking more steps to get there like applying for the program, saving money, and buying a plane ticket. However, I still didn’t feel like any of it was real until my best friend and I landed in Auckland, New Zealand before our semester started. That’s when our adventure began.
I never could have imaged all of the amazing, unique, crazy things that we did, but they just sort of happened and seemed like normal things. Sometimes we’d be doing something super awesome and just feel like it was a typical activity since we did awesome stuff a lot. Other times it would really hit us how lucky and blessed we were to get those amazing opportunities. At the Great Barrier Reef, my best friend and I looked at each other with the look that says “Is this really happening? Are we REALLY at the Great Barrier Reef snorkeling with a bunch of fish and coral surrounding us?” I’ll never forget that moment. I had a similar moment on the south island of New Zealand while sailing through a fiord call Milford Sound surrounded by impeccable mountains and awestriking views. The white sand and blue waters at Whitehaven Beach (creative name right?) were pretty incredible as well. I’m so thankful for all of the adventures and special moments that I’ll remember forever.
I learned a lot about myself and the world on this journey. I learned that no matter where I go, I’ll always be the same person who enjoys hiking, watching movies, or going to SkyZone more than going into the city for a night. Everyone is unique, and I met some pretty cool people from several countries that I hope to visit sometime soon. It was really neat to learn about the culture in Australia but also the culture of other countries from my fellow exchange students. I have realized that some people know more about my own country than I do. Thinking about things with a global perspective can really impact how you form opinions or connect certain events to others.
Not everything will go as you planned while studying abroad. You’re bound to miss a flight, bus, or some planned activity, but don’t worry. You’ll deal with it and learn from mistakes. Maybe you’ll go early next time just in case ;) I have definitely learned to go with the flow and trust that we’d figure things out. This experience has taught me to trust the locals more, see the best in people, problem solve, and make the most out of every situation no matter how tired I might be. Something good can come out of every experience. For me, studying abroad has increased my passion for traveling while also making me realize all the blessing that surround me back home. I’m glad I went on this wild adventure with my best friend, and I can’t wait for more to come.