So, this is it, the last Art of Travel post from me. I am still in awe that my semester in Sydney is coming to a close. As I write this, sweat is literally trickling down my neck because of the heat, but by the end of the week, once I step off that airplane on the other side of the globe, I will be reminded of what Philadelphia winters feel like. And although I am extremely excited to reunite with my friends and family and to get a taste of one of my grandma’s home-cooked meals, I am going to miss this place.
The fact that I will miss Australia is surprising to me because for the past two months, I have been ready to go. The biggest and maybe only problem I faced here in Sydney was that I missed home and my family, and I always felt like something was missing. But now that I’m leaving in less than three days, I’m starting to think that I haven’t done enough or explored enough. There’s so much more to do, like snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef or going down south to cold Tasmania. I definitely regret not saving enough money to travel more or really making the effort to get of my dorm most days. I am in Sydney, Australia and have been to the beach once. And that occasion does not count because I only went for a kite festival and then left. So, I owe it to myself and my overall Australian experience that I will treasure for a lifetime, to go to the beach. Therefore, tomorrow, one of my friends is taking me on the Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach walk, to genuinely appreciate Sydney’s beautiful scenery, and then we will relax by the water. I’m not very fond of beaches and wet sand, but it’s Australia, and I’m excited.
Overall, despite my lack of daily excursions and explorations, I am happy I decided to study abroad in Australia, which has been my dream for years. I also feel lucky that I took the courses, Art of Travel and Australian Experience, because without them, I would not be able to have such a deep appreciation and understanding of my experience here. I would have, possibly, just seen Australia at the surface, but both courses have persuaded me to immerse myself in the different cultures, to meet locals, and to take note of the cultural and societal differences between Australia and the U.S. Originally, I planned to just stay in the NYU community, but I wanted to meet real locals my age, so I took an 8 week acting class at the National Institute of Dramatic Art. That was actually one of the most rewarding experiences for me because I not only improved my craft in acting, but I befriended Australians and learned about them and their stories. Weekly, I learned a new slang term or a way in which their upbringings or culture differed from mine, and it was an experience that could not be taught. I will cherish it forever.
Once I return home, I know things will be different, but I cannot think of all those differences. Yes, people will walk and drive on the right and not have Australian accents, but there are so many cultural differences that I have adapted to. I’m going to have to readjust, which is kind of funny because I am going to feel like an Australian trying to adapt to American culture. For example, Australians rarely tip, so I need to remember that Americans do tip so that waiters and cab drivers do not think that I’m inconsiderate or rude.
Overall, I loved my Australian experience and the assistance and resources the NYU Sydney program provided me. My only advice would be that NYU Sydney recognize Thanksgiving as a holiday and that one more trip be added. People like me, who only planned a spring break trip and an impromptu trip to Melbourne, need a lot of free organized trips.
I guess this is goodbye. I loved reading the blogs of almost all of you, virtual classmates. I hope everyone who isn’t home already has a safe trip. <3