Though there are still about three weeks left and a few major events left (trip to Botany Bay and FINALS) before my time in Australia ends, it feels like I’m just about to say my inevitable farewell. The sun and warmth of the summer that greeted me when I first arrived in Sydney has noticeably begun to fade. Aussies in warm ‘winter’ gear remind me of the season’s and semesters end, and already increasingly early sunsets feel like a page being turned away from this chapter of my life.
There have been all sorts of ups and downs from my time in Sydney, but I’d say the most important thing I’ve gotten from my time here is a deeper knowledge about myself. Being alone for such a long time was definitely not easy, but it was definitely worth it. I learned more about what makes me happy, what makes me sad. I learned to love the beach and have fully embraced the Aussie attitude of just dealing with things.
Furthermore, I have also learned more about those around me. Living in Australia has allowed me to see my America more clearly. Through the eyes of another country, I’ve come to understand a different part of my country. I admittedly was quite disillusioned with America before coming here, but after hearing first hand the stereotypes and impressions others have of the U.S., I can see with pride that I come from a nation of bravery, and perseverance and passion.
Honestly, if I were to predict what I will remember from my time here in Australia, the two things that stand out are: my time in New Zealand, and the social struggles I faced here. New Zealand is a given since it’s my favorite place in the world, however before coming to Australia, I did not expect struggles I faced here. For some reason, I expected a giant, happy, NYU family that did everything together. In hindsight I think I was thinking of summer camp, however I really did expect we would all form a giant group of friends. Although this isn’t how things worked out, I did become more comfortable being on my own, and I met someone who I think I will be close with for many more years to come. If I could have given myself one piece of advice before coming here, it would have been to focus my time and effort making local friends outside of the NYU bubble.
My time in Sydney was full of introspection. Sometimes it was uncomfortable, and painful having to face parts of myself I did not like, however the wisdom I gained about myself was absolutely worth it. I am extremely grateful for my time here in Australia, and the opportunity to witness the unique way of life here. It was fascinating hearing about the lives and experiences other students were having all over the world, and it was wonderful to spend time each week reflecting on my travels in all kinds of thought provoking ways. Thank you, and farewell.