The End of an Era

G’day, y’all!

My study abroad adventures have unfortunately come to a close. To begin to describe the past 6 weeks in Sydney will be a challenging task. Every adventure I went on, person I met, memory I made is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. It was truly an eye-opening experience that gave me an opportunity to learn about the world, Sydney and Australia in whole, and so much about myself at a pivotal point in my life.

In my first introductory post, I was greatly anxious and hesitant about my upcoming trip, to say the least. I had no idea what to expect from my endeavors. Would I make friends? Would I adapt to an international city and lifestyle? Would I excel in the classroom? Would I enjoy and learn from my internship? Would I get homesick and wish my time away? All of these questions and more were answered throughout my program.

Though it may not have been considered in my initial post, to not mention the relationships and friendships I formed during my study abroad would cause me to immensely understate how amazing my trip was. The friends I made from all across the U.S. are what truly made my time that much more enjoyable. I met people that forever changed my perspective on friendship. Our common bond of being on our own thousands of miles away from the homes that we have grown so accustomed to brought us together stronger than any of us ever expected. Being surrounded by such great people alleviated some of the pressures of my internship or nearing assignments and exams or homesickness that I felt at times.

Moving into the program itself, I am now a strong proponent for studying abroad due to all that I have learned during the course of 6 weeks. The combination of an International Economics class partnered with my internship that dealt with foreign countries in the Asia-Pacific region was an ideal match that I am grateful to have been placed in. Between the two, I believe that I came to Sydney with minimal knowledge of how vast this world is and how doing business internationally is just one way that nations and peoples can be connected, but as I have returned home, my perspective has greatly changed. No longer do I see the world through strictly American goggles. I see now how American can affect other nations through their actions, but also how other countries function outside of the United States’ involvement that we tend to hear so much about in our country.

Upon my return to my typical daily routine here in the States, I notice slight changes in myself. It will take me a while to adjust to walking and driving on the right side of the sidewalk or road. I catch myself referring to things such as ketchup by its Australian name, “tomato sauce.” But, these are just minor changes compared to who I now see in the mirror. After this trip, I now see a strong, independent woman who went out on her own thousands of miles across the world to experience something entirely new. I came back to Pennsylvania a more learned, open person. I found a better version of myself and who I look to become as I finish my undergraduate career this upcoming school year and as I enter the working world beyond.

Studying abroad has changed my life in far more ways than one. I am truly grateful for this opportunity and am anxious to see what new paths may now be paved for me to explore.

Until next time, travelers,

Kaylee

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