I’ve been home for a week and it is not what I was expecting. It feels weird to be home and I definitely miss Australia and the friends I made while abroad. The reverse culture shock was expected, but not in the way that I have been experiencing. Attitudes and personalities here are so different compared to Australia, which seems so obvious, but people there are so much more friendly and happy over there compared to in America, so I look like a freak trying to smile to everyone and be friendly, but it is normal over there.

My biggest advice to students considering is to just go for it. Everyone always says that as their advice, but it is such a good piece of advice. Obviously, it will be scary to move to an unfamiliar place for a semester or year, but it is such a good experience. I got to appreciate cultural differences between America and Australia, learned a lot about myself, and taught myself how to come out of my shell. Before I left, I didn’t even like to go grocery shopping alone, but I eventually had to learn how to do everything alone- anything from figuring out how to take the train to the city or flying 9000 miles by myself. Also, don’t be afraid to splurge on once in a lifetime opportunities. A lot of people feel held back and do not study abroad because of the cost, but UA helps so much financially and often times, other schools are significantly cheaper than UA anyways. This can be applied to more than just tuition. Do not be afraid to spend that extra $100 (or whatever it may be) for that one thing you really want to do but may never be able to do – mine was being able to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef! It may seem like a lot of money at the time, but the experience is worth the price. The entire process seems long – between visas, advising meetings, and the program research – but it is SO worth it so if you have the chance, I definitely say to do it.

Also – if you are debating going to Melbourne, VIC, keep in mind that the seasons are flipped and Melbourne is furthest south in Aus, so it will get kinda cold during our spring/summer months (only like 40s-60s in winter so not bad). I still really loved Melbourne and Geelong, but it is something to think about if you are going during the summer or if you don’t like the cold