My last week in Australia has lent itself to a lot of analysing and reflection, as it should have I suppose.
I am not quite sure why it would take until my very last few days for me to realise what a feat I have overcome, but I am glad to acknowledge it nonetheless.
Those who go across the world for short programs always come back home feeling like they experienced the best thing life has to offer. They tell everyone how much fun they had, how amazing the place was, and how they would love to go back if the opportunity lent itself. But until now, I have never stopped to analyse these sentiments from a more realistic perspective, to where I ask questions like “what about homesickness? Culture shock? Adjustment issues?” Surely it can’t be all peaches and cream.
Well, I’ve had my turn now. So what do I have to say?
To begin, going abroad alone for lengthy periods is not something that everyone can manage, especially when it involves venturing to a more expensive city. Is it worth recommending, though? Absolutely. You will learn things about yourself you never knew existed and walk away feeling like you can overcome anything. You will learn who cares enough to reach out to you, who to not depend on, and even be surprised by some unexpected people who offer you not only their support, but their respect as well–just for doing what you are doing. You will learn how to survive on your own, how to adapt appropriately to whatever circumstance is laid out before you, and most importantly, how to appreciate the life you left behind.
I came to this country expecting absolutely nothing, and left with much more than I could ever dream. I have grown so much from this experience that words could not even begin to categorise or describe my sentiments. I have grown more from this than I have throughout my three years of college, and if you have been following my blog then you know just how much that is. I am truly proud of myself for diving into the unclear waters and, though apprehensive at first, swimming in it until I reached the shore.
With all of the setbacks and frustrations, the days of feeling more alone than anyone ever should and the days of crying just because it feels right, I would not go back and change anything if ever I could. At my weakest moments I prepare myself for the toughest battles–after which I become stronger than ever before, with a mind incapable of going back to what once defeated me. And no matter how much I hate depending on public transportation, or how much time I wasted waiting around for false promises, or how tired I grew of the food selection, I know already that I will surely miss this place that I have called home for the past six and a half weeks.
I grew to love it in its own sense; the helpful bus drivers, the cafe worker who automatically brought me ice every day at lunch, the cold weather that helped me sleep well at night, the internship placement that provided me with great clips, my genuine co-workers who helped me find my way, and all who have made the trip even just a little bit easier. You will not be forgotten.
But now, it is time for me to go. And hopefully one day I can return–stronger, older, richer, and with someone whom I can share the experience.
Until then …