Back to Reality
After a lot of denial and even more tears the day I had been dreading finally came: my last day in Australia. It was the most amazing, most difficult and most enlightening year of my life and accepting that it has come to an end is proving almost impossible for me right now. So here’s a quick blog post for me to remenisce about my final days down under and enlighten those just now embarking on their years abroad on how to cope on your return.
The end of the Australian chapter…
The countdown to my flight finally began in June as I realised I would only have a month left in Melbourne, and even less time with a lot of my friends, but I tried to make the most of it by doing absolutely everything I could fit in (despite having the flu for over 3 weeks!). I visited the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary to finally see some koalas and immerse myself in Australian wildlife for the very last time. I also visited the Yarra Valley wineries and famous chocolate shop which was a wonderful experience. My friends and I went on some nights out, cherishing the last few visits to our favourite quirky bars before finally ending my time with a simple meal and movie night surrounded by all my incredible friends. They were the best and saddest few weeks of my life but I wouldn’t change them for the world; cramming all that amazing stuff into only a matter of days made me appreciate Melbourne (and Australia) more than ever and really made me realise how lucky I had been to experience such an amazing country for a whole year of my life.
The beginning of the English chapter…
After several emotional and rather teary goodbyes (ugly crying was becoming a regular thing over the last few weeks) finally it was the day of my flight. It’s a horrid bitter-sweet feeling when you’re leaving your year abroad because it could be days, months, or even years before you see most of your friends again; but you’re also so excited to spend precious time with family and old friends who you’ve missed for the past year. Starting and finishing my year abroad were the hardest things I have ever had to do.
30 hours and a lot of in-flight movies later, I was finally reunited with my family and I have to admit, it felt so strange, like nothing had changed and somehow I had imagined the whole trip. Before your year abroad you’re taught about culture shock and learning to adapt your life to fit into another culture, but in many ways I feel that the culture shock of moving back home after having a year of adventures and challenges is the hardest of all. Coming back to your family as a support network is amazing and it felt so good to be looked after, but nobody tells you that you don’t really come back to many friends. Living away (and often in a different time zone) while your friends are finishing their degrees and graduating often means communication is at an all time low and you have to be prepared to lose a few friends along the way. This is usually nobody’s fault but it is a harsh reality of living away from university life, and often a reality that nobody ever mentions. So my first few days at home were spent trying to reconnect with friends and arranging reunions! It’s also extremely difficult adjusting to a life back at home after a year of independence and city life. Having a fully stocked fridge and consistently ironed clothes is always a bonus, but adjusting back to a home life where you can’t always do what you want when you want is very hard!
But on the whole it feels amazing to be back at home with my family and my little dog and I’m so excited to be heasing back to Warwick in October when I can have the best of both worlds during the final year of my degree!