It’s not something you normally think about, but your reflection is your own. And if I’ve learned anything, it’s that this study abroad experience is mine and mine alone. Therefore, I’ve found my reflection to be a very important aspect of my experience.
So if you find yourself studying abroad, already back from studying abroad, or planning to study abroad, I encourage you to do some reflection of your own. Your reflection is yours alone and is a tool to make sense of your dreams, aspirations and experiences: three things you are bound to think about when it comes to studying abroad.
So here comes the conflict: In my case, Australia has definitely been pursuing me and not the other way around—I admittedly had not come in with the best of mindsets. I couldn’t help but feel homesick and I longed to be at home. I missed my fiancé (who had just proposed to me days before I left) more than I could have ever imagined and have never felt such a pit in my stomach like the one I felt my third week here, realizing I had to be away from him for 5 months. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy transition, and I wasn’t about to let Australia whisk me away from my home without putting up a fight.
So that’s just what I did—I ignored most of Australia’s beauty for a while. Don’t get me wrong, there have been lots of laughs, adventures, and memories made over the past few weeks here in Wollongong, but in the back of my mind I had been secretly counting down the days until I could come back home.
As the storyline progressed, I found myself taking a trip to the Blue Mountains this past weekend. One of the first places we hiked to was a lookout point over a section of the mountains. Words don’t do justice for the view that the overlook gave us, so I won’t even try to describe it, but just know that it was immense and it wasincredible. It was one of those moments when you have no idea what’s about to hit you, but then it does, and it completely takes your breath away. There was practically no use of taking any pictures, because they didn’t do it justice. I wanted to stare into that valley of mountains long enough until I had the image ingrained in my mind forever.
I like to think that hiking through those mountains was a turning point in Australia and my relationship. It took bringing me one Australia’s most beautiful sights to make me fall in love, but I sure did. I suddenly wanted to see more of Australia and I wanted to travel to every inch of this continent.
With all that being said, the story is surely not over. That weekend made me finally realize that there is so much for me here in Australia, and the most fun part about that will be the adventure of figuring it all out. There will continue to be ups and downs, but I truly believe that Australia and I will end up happily ever after in my time abroad.