Anna Morris: Saying Goodbye to Australia
As my time in Australia comes to an end, I am able to look back on all the things that have come out of it. These aspects include becoming part of a community and family on the opposite side of the world, and experiencing new cultures. One of the most impactful aspects of my study abroad experience is the friend group I built. I had the privilege to grow close to a group of Australian students, who welcomed me into their lives and homes. And over the five months, they quickly became some of my closest friends who I will cherish for the rest of my life. They were the individuals who kept me grounded and made sure I did not feel isolated or lonely during my entire time abroad.
Another gift that came from abroad is traveling. Most of my life, I felt as though Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia were too far to even think about visiting. However, this experience allowed me to explore all of these areas. One trip was during my semester break, where I journeyed to Singapore and Vietnam. The cultural norms in these two countries drastically differ from the United States and Australia, so it was here that I first experienced "cultural shock." Not only did I not know the languages spoken, but the basics of everyday life were differ from the norms I know. The biggest aspect was the craziness of the streets. There were bikes, cars, and even people walking in the roads. At first, it seemed like mayhem, but over my time visiting, I learned that there was an order to it. It was not what I was used to with traffic lights, but a set of unspoken rules and different street signs. Overall, traveling in these countries reminded me that I was not in the United States anymore, but a world away learning about a new place. Other adventures in these countries, included learning about their ancient history and visiting some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
My final trip after exams ended was to New Zealand, where the main goal was to climb every mountain and see as many Lord of the Rings filming sites. My entire life I have dreamed of traveling to these places and for it to finally happen during study abroad is one of the most amazing experiences I could have asked for. I will dearly miss Australia and my friends there, but I am so happy that I got to experience all of this, even though it was only for a short period of time.