Reflections on semester one…
I just got back to my room from the last seminar of the semester. I may also have just called my parents to tell them that I would love to move to Australia…
Whilst it is still early to tell, it certainly is not an option that I am dismissing. Australia you have taken me right out of my comfort zone over the last three months and taught me some of my biggest lessons yet. I have had the opportunity to explore the city I am studying in, try new foods, face some of my biggest challenges and really just grow as an individual.
Something that has struck me is reflecting on my motive for studying abroad. I had a read of my application earlier today. It was initially the very prospect of travelling the world and becoming a ‘global citizen’ whilst studying in a completely different academic environment which excited me. It still definitely does. I was not, however, prepared for the beautiful friendships that would form in the process. Yes, it is inevitable that coming to a new country alone would require me to socialise, but this is not really something that I considered. This time last year I could see myself learning new things in a new country, I did not consider just how strong the friendships formed would be.
Talking to people from different backgrounds not only helps you understand other cultures and ideas but really gives you an appreciation for the opportunities you have. Wherever we are from, we all unite in the fact that we are currently in Australia, creating experiences together. This has caused me to change my motive somewhat, yes I want to continue travelling, but I also want to use this opportunity to continue meeting new people and to maintain the friendships that I have formed.
I have also surprised myself. Academically and emotionally, studying abroad is not supposed to be easy. I have left work until the last minute. I have had to self-teach Australian history and politics in order to keep up with my peers. I have studied units that are different from what I am used to. However challenging at the time, the point is that I survived. As somebody who otherwise likes to complete their work at least three or so days in advance, the frequent assignments here throughout the term makes this difficult. I learnt to adapt to the new environment, improved my time management skills and surprised myself with just how well I have coped, if I may say so.
I never really considered how I would cope emotionally. I just wanted to focus on taking it one step at a time. Missing home is not really something that I think much about though. I guess Australia has become another home and that is because of the people I have met, who have been nothing but welcoming. A note to future me: take on opportunities that come your way, you can always think about how you will cope later on. I promise that it will all work out in the end, it always does.
I am really excited for the second semester. I know what I am coming to. I know what residential halls are like. I have gotten to grips with the academic side of things. I am gradually discovering the things that interest me.
Deciding to study abroad is by far the best decision I have made. I am looking forward to seeing where the second semester takes me!
Shanita 🙂 xo