My feelings about going home have made a complete 180 from pure excitement to nervousness in the past week. After coming home from my spring break trip in Bali and Thailand, I felt absolutely finished with my abroad. Not only was I exhausted, I was questioning whether I’m even somebody who likes to travel, and if I should’ve stayed home this semester. It felt like everyone back in New York was having the time of their lives without me, while I was supposed to be this crazy eye-opening experience myself. I’d gotten so in my head about all of this that I actually pushed my flight home to London from Sydney to a week earlier.
While this decision was made because of my abroad fatigue, it actually allowed me to start appreciating Sydney more than I had the first half of the semester. Somehow the idea of going home early both lifted a weight off my shoulder, and made every new experience in the city feel extra special. My friend from New York also came to stay in Sydney for the semester, at an apartment near Bondi Beach which provided a much needed refuge from the business district dorm life.
What really turned my attitude towards Australia around was my weekend trip to Melbourne. I’d hear my peers say all the time that they could see themselves moving to Sydney in the future, and I could never relate, but after visiting Melbourne I completely understand the desire to make the grand move down under. Not only was the culture there so much more vibrant than Sydney’s, much it was way more diverse and lively than anywhere else I’d seen in Australia. Leaving Melbourne made me way less eager to go back home, as I would’ve been content spending the rest of my time in that city and I was almost out of time.
The thing with Sydney for me is that while it may not be my favorite place I’ve ever visited, I think it was the perfect abroad location for me. Being in Sydney not only allowed me to be closer in proximity to places I thought I’d never see, like Southeast Asia, but it made me more comfortable with being uncomfortable. As a black girl there aren’t very many people who look like me in Sydney. When I was growing up in South Carolina, this was a typical situation, but New York has accustomed to this bubble of diversity and understanding. I’ve had so many awkward microaggressive encounters abroad that have opened my eyes to how the rest of the world sees me, and I really think they’ve helped to educate me in the best way. Coupled with the fact that I’ll alway love the sun and the ocean, I’m happy I chose Australia as a place where I could relax while expanding my worldview. I’m no longer filled with pure excitement at the prospect of leaving, but rather it feelsl more bittersweet than anything to be saying goodbye.