Old Beginnings

My time in Australia is coming to an end. It’s strange; I feel like I’m just now getting comfortable. I’ve made friends, and the thought of saying goodbye to them is pretty painful. I really like Monash, and I’ve gotten involved in some organizations here, that I can’t imagine what it’ll be like when I’m not here to see their future.

I had similar feelings, to a lesser degree, as I was getting ready to leave Spain. There are a lot of differences between that study abroad experience and this one, however. I spent my time taking relatively easy classes and traveling through Europe, I made friends, but spent most of my time with people from OU. Other students did the same thing, and while we were all cordial to each other, and would often run into other groups in our travels, people mostly stuck with others from their university, even if they hadn’t met those people before. I stayed with a host family, and while they really did make me feel like a family member, it was very clear that I was a guest in their home, and I came and went mostly as I pleased (without inconveniencing my host family).

I come and go as I please here too, but I’m weighed down by assignments and a less reliable public transport system. There aren’t as many nearby places to travel to, and I don’t have three-day weekends. I go into the city pretty often, but schoolwork definitely gets more importance in semester-long exchange programs. In addition, I spend a lot of time around my residence hall, hanging out with other exchange students, all of whom come from a wide range of countries, and some local friends I’ve made.

I can’t believe it’s coming to an end. It’s a familiar feeling, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I’m not sure how to cope. I do miss my friends and family and country, and it’ll be really nice to be back stateside (and not have to wait 4 weeks for international shipping), but it’ll also be a large adjustment.

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