Ending the Journey of an Experience Abroad

Well my exchange experience is over, and my last month was the best one yet. In my last few weeks in Australia, life began to pick back up as many regional borders within Western Australia eased allowing for more travel, and more businesses opening. Because of this, I was able to take a trip down to a south-western town of Australia called Margaret River. It was very interesting to see because it was a much different terrain compared to the larger city of Perth, and because Margaret river was much wetter and hillier. While down there, my friends and I were able to reserve a canoeing tour going down the Margaret River river. It was very exciting because we started at the top of the river next to the Indian Ocean and then canoed up for a few hours while the guide explained the history of the Aboriginal people in the area and how the British came to it. At the halfway point, we pulled our canoes over and were given a picnic that consisted of traditional foods of the Aboriginal people such as kangaroo, crocodiles, emu, bush tomatoes, and many other exotic foods. It was amazing to see and learn some of the aspects of a different culture that is still very present in Australia. We then, canoed back to where we originally launched into the river. While we did many other things in Margaret River, it was my personal highlight of the trip and an eye opener when it comes to accepting new cultures. After another week of being around Perth with businesses open again, I stepped on my flight back home leaving a place I have come to love. Looking back, I will miss and remember many things.   

What I will remember most from Australia was the people I met. Australians are very friendly people to be around. They are easy-going and I felt accepted into Australia very quickly. All the Australians I met were easy to talk to and energetic. There was never a dull moment with the people I was around. In addition to locals, the exchange students I met were fascinating as well. I found myself falling in love with cultures I was not even surrounded by. I have made multiple promises to come visit people in their home countries someday.   

I went into Australia expecting to learn and enjoy myself, but I came back with much more. Being home now for two days, I know that I will one day return to Australia. After graduating, I could see myself living there in the future. Along with this, seeing another side of the world has only made me more eager to see the rest of the world. Being in Australia had caused me to develop a strong desire to do much more traveling. I cannot recommend enough that if someone has the chance to study abroad, they should take the opportunity. The world is a big place and you are limiting your own potential and growth when you refuse to see how others live life. It is so easy to remain within the bubble of the United States, but I must say, do not stay complacent. Push outside your comfort zone and keep an open mind. With those philosophies, I learned and did things that I would have normally never been able.              

After the many ups in downs of my exchange experience, I am proud to say that I completed my semester abroad! It is still hard to believe that almost a year of forward planning went into this semester long experience for myself, but I am beyond glad that I made the effort. Despite the impact COVID-19 had on the world and Western Australia, it was still an unforgettable, enlightening experience. I already know I have made lifelong relationships with others and long-lasting memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. If it was not clear already, I highly encourage anyone to study abroad!

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