by Jude Wiggins, University of Queensland, Australia, Geography
This blog is actually a little late as I have been back in the UK for about a month now. During the last month at UQ I was pretty busy with exams, saying goodbye too friends and fitting in sneaky trips to New Zealand and Byron Bay but nevertheless, here are some of my final reflections on life in Australia and study abroad!
My last trip to Byron Bay
If I’m being honest I had a lot of mixed feelings about leaving Australia. In a sense, I was pretty excited to get home. My sister had had twins and my brother had a baby boy whilst I was away so a lot had been going on. I hadn’t seen my family or friends in over a year and towards the end I was beginning to feel a little homesick. This was probably made worse by the fact that I was stuck revising for exams and a lot of my friends were starting to go back to their home countries. A year filled with travelling and new friends doesn’t seem like a long time, but a year without your Mum, home comforts, cat and best friends definitely does! So when the day of my flight home arrived, I wouldn’t say that I was ecstatic about it, but I definitely felt a sense of contentment about going home.
For me, the hardest part of leaving Oz was leaving behind friends. When you’re away from home for so long your friends become your family, your support network. I made friends with people from Peru, Brazil, Oman, France, all over the world… and not knowing when, or if, you’ll see them again makes saying goodbye so much harder. Although on the plus side I feel more motivated than ever to save up and go to visit friends in South America! It wasn’t just hard saying goodbye to friends, it was the people I saw on a day to day basis who I never had enough time to get to know properly… lecturers, tutors, the girl in my American History class who always complemented my shoes, the old Greek lady who worked in the local green grocers and insisted I try a Custard Apple my first week in Australia as I’d never seen one! I don’t know, maybe I’m being overly nostalgic haha!
I suppose in a sense, I felt quite anxious about leaving Brisbane and UQ. It had been my home for a year and everything felt so familiar and comfortable. I was anxious that I might not fit in with my friends at home anymore, that I’d find it hard to adjust back into Manchester life (all theses anxieties were completely unnecessary by the way!) I knew I’d miss the little things like being able to go on my jog by the river at sunset, study on the lawn at UQ, go swimming after Uni at the city beach.
It’s hard to sum up study abroad in words but my experiences were exciting, challenging, fun and incredibly invaluable.. What I will say is that if anyone reading this is remotely interested in UQ, Australia or just study abroad in general then you definitely have to go and see it for yourself! Until next time Oz…