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When people talk about studying abroad, they don’t talk about what happens when you come...

Studying With Kangaroos (Coming Home)

When people talk about studying abroad, they don’t talk about what happens when you come back. The excitement leaving and going to the new destination is undeniable and while everyone has a different experience abroad, coming home is a transition in its own. Having been in Australia I got used to walking/driving on left side, lights switches needing to be turned down to turn on, and how to respond when being asked, “how ya goin’?”. Moving back home, I was so excited to adjust there, but struggled when returning to the US. I had all the excitement in the world to share with everyone that I came back to but missed all the amazing people from around the world in the abroad program. It creates life-long friendships and memories. The people I met in the four months living there created such a bond because we all traveled alone to a new location and shared the same passions of exploration.

Deakin University was the best fit that I could’ve chose. I learned so much in the four classes that I completed as they were different from the learning styles at Oregon State, but equally as rewarding. Living abroad has been the most rewarding experience of my life so far. I experienced a lot of personal growth as well as some incredible experiences. Never in a million years did I imagine hugging a kangaroo or scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef.

Sometimes it’s hard to get all feelings down in words. So here’s a list to help me out:

  • The 5 things that have bothered me the most about being home are:
    • 1. Not being with the people I met from around the world every day.
    • 2. How things are exactly the same as if I never left. People are in the same spot and it makes me forget that I ever went.
    • 3. For me, it’s the end of school which is a weird thing to get used to. But it’s not the end of new learning experiences.
  • The 5 things I have enjoyed the most about being home:
    • 1. Being with family and sharing my experiences.
    • 2. Being able to apply all that I have learned in school abroad to jobs and work.
    • 3. The ability to freely focus on my passions now that I am completed my degree.
    • 4. The opportunities and knowledge I know about traveling and living abroad opening chances to go anywhere in the world.
    • 5. I feel stronger than when I left. I carry more passions with me every day!
  • The 5 international things (people, places, activities, etc.) I miss the most from abroad are:
    • 1. Daily walks through the neighborhoods in Melbourne.
    • 2. Learning about sports and traditions among locals and participating as if I had been there for a long time.
    • 3. How open and warm people were to learn about my culture and teach me about their own.
    • 4. Every day being a new day of new experiences and seeing animals and other things that I have never seen in person and only heard of.
    • 5. The way of life in Australia. The ability for a strong work-life balance and how laid back and helpful everyone I met was.
  • The 5 things (people, places, situations, etc.) I miss the least since returning home are:
    • 1. Melbourne wind. Never thought a place could be that windy, all the time. Bundle up, and don’t bother doing your hair, you’ll get blown around.
    • 2. Australian winter. Leaving the Oregon summer back into winter and then leaving when summer arrives in Australia back to Oregon winter really makes for a cold year.
    • 3. Scary loud birds. The magpies and the crows, they’re everywhere and they won’t let you not hear them.
    • 4. The lurking feeling that I was going to encounter a giant spider the size of my head. Never had the chance to see one, and I’m okay with that!
    • 5. Tram 75. The public transportation in Melbourne will get you where you need to go, if you have extreme patience. My last ride on Tram 75 that got me back to Deakin University whenever I explored the city was bittersweet, but oh boy it took its sweet time.

It’s a big world out there, and going abroad made it seem even bigger, but everything became a little more familiar.