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No Place Like Sydney, But No Place Like Home

Time December 14th, 2015 in 2015 Fall, Australia, College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Well folks, I have been home for a few weeks now, and man oh man am I experiencing reverse culture shock. I think the first week and a half back flew by in a whirlwind. It almost felt surreal that just like that I was back on the other side of the world. Back to reality. The main culprit of this surreal feeling has been my extreme jetlag. After flying about 22 hours, my circadian rhythm is still confused and has a vendetta against me. Most of my nights have been spent wide awake trying to sleep and my days are a montage of failed attempts at staying awake. However, I can say that it is gradually getting better.

Coming home was so bittersweet. It has been amazing to come home reuniting with family and friends right around this time of Thanksgiving. My days have been filled with catching up with friends and family and giving my dogs extra love! However, on the other hand I can’t stop comparing everything at home with Sydney. When speaking with friends I feel like I have become that person whose every sentence begins with “When I was in Sydney…” or “That reminds me of Australia’s…” A lot of my friends seem to be quite interested in my experiences for now, so I can get away with this for a bit.

I think the toughest part of being home has been all the idle time. I’m not in classes, not working yet, and the organizations I volunteer for are on a break for the holidays. That leaves me with a lot of time on my hands and little to do. In addition, besides the fact that I’m usually up in the middle of the night while everyone else is asleep, I also came home while most of my friends are in the middle of finals period, so it takes a bit of effort to find times to hang out with my university friends. I know I should just enjoy the opportunity to relax, but I’m an extrovert! Being around people keeps me energized! I’ve kept myself busy with lots of little activities one of which is my Sydney memory wall.

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It’s all a big transition that can mostly be held to a case of reverse culture shock. And I am a bit in the rut of the process, but I am finally beginning to acclimate myself to being back home. I can appreciate my friends, family, and the beautiful fall trees. I often find myself appreciating little things and quirks about my town I never noticed before. Oz was amazing, but of course there is no place like home.

So that’s all folks! Thanks for journeying with me through my Aussie adventures. I’ll leave you with my top 3 tips for studying abroad in Australia and a link to a video that sums up my time living down under.

Dalyla’s top 3 tips:

  1. Get to know people beyond those on the program with you!
  2. Really put an effort to try new things, go to new places, and learn new ways
  3. Trying vegemite is required.

Video Link: My Aussie Experience

Wish you all the best

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A Week of Goodbyes and a Solemn Farewell

Time November 25th, 2015 in 2015 Fall, Australia, College Study Abroad | No Comments by

The final week in Sydney took me right back to the emotional roller coaster I arrived on. I hd so many mixed emotions, but the most prevalent was my desire to stay in Sydney. The realization that such an amazing adventure has come to its final week hits hard. Suddenly I felt a pressure to hang out with everyone I would miss and fill any free time with adventures I had been wanting to do. Before I knew it my week was filled with hourly meet ups, dates, sleepovers, and dinners. I was determined to savor each and every moment as my week of goodbyes.

Each goodbye was hard. Often awkward being that I just am really bad at saying goodbye and these goodbyes are very likely to be a final goodbye. Saying “see you later” felt like as inappropriate phrase as I waved farewell to each friend.

However, the goodbyes were simultaneously sweet. I felt really loved by the effort by friends to make my last week in Sydney spectacular. On Monday some friends surprised me with a goodbye dinner at an Italian pizzaria where pizza was served by the meter. We shared delicious food, good laughs, and nutella pizza.  In the end they gifted me with an giant Australian flag and a card signed by a bunch of the friends I made from the campus ministry.

The rest of the week flew by as I spent time with friends for nearly every moment. At night, when I would reflect back on the day the friends I said goodbye to I would instantly tear up and try to distract myself with Netflix.  The last night I spent with close friends at one of their homes in the jacuzzi with moscato and pad thai under the stars. We talked, and talked, and talked through the night. Every now and then someone would say ” I can’t believe you’re leaving”. Neither could I. It just didn’t seem real, and I wasn’t ready!

Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty to look forward to back home. I had a great job to look forward to, friends and family to reunite with, and theatre opportunities that were accumulating. Plus the luxury of unlimited wifi… yet, I still felt like Sydney had my heart and suddenly the news about the heart wrenching social justice issues at home seemed more prevalent. Could’t I stay just a little longer?

Alas, the final day came. My bags were packed. My room all cleared out. I couldn’t believe it was actually my final day in Sydney. I was in the middle of my goodbye notes and gifts for friends at church when Joanna, one of my closest friends I made from IFSA, came into my room crying saying she would miss me with a gift. It became all so real. I was leaving today. I finished my goodbye letters in tears and made my way to my final Sunday service at the Sydney Church of Christ. Everything seemed brighter, stronger, and more beautiful than ever before. It was like my senses were trying to put all the familiar sites into my permanent memory.  It was so hard to look anyone in the eye. As soon as I did, my eyes would well up. After the service many of us got a final lunch together at our favorite dumpling spot. I laughed, gave and received gifts, and finally said goodbye for the last time.

With that I headed back to my apartment with a friend, checked out, and headed to the airport prepared for the 20 hour trek home. The last goodbye was the hardest. Saying goodbye to Sydney felt surreal, but as the plane took flight leaving the ground, I gazed out the window leaving the country that stole my heart. All that I could do was store the memories and lessons as I move forward into home and into reality.

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Savoring the final month in Melbourne- November

Time November 25th, 2015 in 2015 Fall, Australia, College Study Abroad | No Comments by

With November came a realization that my time was reduced to only 3 final weeks in Sydney! 3 weeks! 21 days! How had time gone so fast?? My internship with UnitingWorld and the connected class had come to an end freeing up a lot of time in the week, but the schoolwork escalated quickly. The month began with an intense focus on my work for Uni. Though the classes were ending , in these final weeks I had all my assignments and papers for the semester due. The first few days of November were spent with extreme focus on writing the papers.

However, no matter how bogged down with schoolwork I was, I still didn’t let it get in the way of my exploring Australia. On the 5th of November, I took a trip to Melbourne with a few friends. I had been wanting to make a trip to Melbourne the whole semester being that I was told that it was the type of  cultural artsy place that I would fall in love with. I was not disappointed. I absolutely adored Melbourne. We stayed in St. Kilda in a backpackers hostel that was small but homey. St. Kilda was a small beach town only 20 minute tram ride from the city. Riding the trams was quite the adventure in itself. We spent the first day exploring the city, but it was more like getting really lost  but just having a fun and carefree attitude about it. Eventually we made our way to Queen Victoria Markets where we met up with friends we had made while in Cairns. The rest of the d was spent exploring the various alleys and unique character of Melbourne. I discovered 3 things about the city: they take hipster to a new levels including tree  sweaters, their graffiti alleys are mesmerizing, and they take coffee seriously. Really seriously. That evening we saw street magic, hung out at a new age rooftop bar, and even tried something new by going to a jazz club. Somethings I feel like trips like these have taught me is the value in getting lost and the beauty of new experiences.

The next day we took an tour on the Great Ocean Words. The sites were beyond words and to grand for a camera to catch. Just jaw dropping. The tour began in Melbourne and took us along a ocean drive with many scenic stops at look outs, lighthouses, and beaches. Some of the most memorable moments were spotting koalas in the trees, making parrot friends, and the 12 apostles of course! The ride was quite relaxing and our guide quite the corky and knowledgeable character. The other people on the tour were very friendly and a few had great conversations. One friend I met was a guy named Brian from Los Angeles. He told me he would be making his way to Sydney on the day we were headed back, so we made plans for me to show him around. I found it really cool how we could meet people around the world and connect on the mutual love of travel. The key to making connections such as these would be to just spark conversations. You’ll be surprised with some of the amazing people you will meet.

The last full day in Melbourne began with a trip to the Melbourne Church of Christ which is once again connected to my international church also in Sydney. It was a really cool and fun experience to see worship services the same but infused with different cities cultures.  The campus ministry was extremely welcoming and we bonded over yummy pad thai after the service. I met back up with my friends for ice cream on the beach and later what I would consider the highlight of my trip. Penguins at sunset on the pier. Let me repeat that. Penguins. At sunset. On the pier. Beyond words mates! Ill let the pictures express. But the mixture of the beautiful sunset on the water, being so close to cute penguins, and bonding time with my friend came together for quite the unforgettable experience.

The last day in Melbourne was focused on completing a paper which was an experience mirrored throughout the rest of the week after my flight back to Sydney. I had to balance my time and focus on intense school work and  still managing to have fun adventures. In the end I managed to submit my final assignment in on the 13th of November. Phew! No more school!… but now only a week left in Sydney! :(((

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Part 2: October Greatness

Time November 23rd, 2015 in 2015 Fall, Australia, College Study Abroad | No Comments by

The second half of October passed quickly. I know I say that with everything here, but I mean things really started to speed up! It was the combination of heavier school loads, more events, and simply the phenomenon of how time rushes by when you’re having fun. I left off from my last post talking about the relationships that really made my time in Sydney, but in the second part of the October seemed to be more about just experiencing these friendships that had been solidified.

One small thing I realised was the importance of having a good balance of Aussie friends and friends that you can be a tourist with. Its a small thing, but having someone to get caught in tourist traps with is essential to mix the true Aussie experience with the commercialized exaggerated features. I am being a little jokey, but I am sincere about the point. Mid-October a friend from Switzerland and I climbed the Harbor Bridge pilar and took in the magnificent views. This was super beautiful way to experience Australia, but often times the Australians aren’t super keen for these types of things after their 99th time seeing it. Though I should emphasize that the Australian friends I had were very welcoming and loved to show their favorite insider parts of Sydney. They help you see the “underground” culture of Sydney and Australia you would have missed otherwise. As mama always says, “everything is good in moderation”… my mom never actually said that, but you get the point.

Right before the end of October, we had our end of the year celebration for IFSA Butler! It was definitely quite early but they wanted to do it before finals period. It was at Darling Harbor on a floating restaurant that was pretty much a ship and gorgeous. The dinner was bittersweet for sure. It was crazy to think we were getting closer to the end and the picture slide show brought so many memories. It reminded you of how much had happened in such a short period. The dinner was delicious and our “IFSA mom’s” took amazing care of us. It was sweet to have these moments to realize how amazing this trip has been. We got our letters we wrote to ourselves at the beginning of the semester back, but I haven’t read it yet because I wanted to save it for right before I leave. It’s weird to think that time is close, so the dinner inspired me to make the best of all my time and relish the bonding moments.

A Lot of the bonding times would be simple outings like getting dinner together or midnight walks around the city, but there was plenty of festivities that accumulated at October ends.I had been warned that Halloween was not a thing here, but I couldn’t help myself getting so excited for the holiday season that I am use to back home. Its pretty much innate at this point! Though it was true that people were all pretty much zombies and not much other creative costumes, I was not disappointed. I spent halloween sleeping over a friends house whose family through a nice Halloween party. They went all out. Seriously. Every room of the house has halloween written all over it. Not literally, but figuratively. They put so much detail into decorating and organising, but I guess Halloween is just not a huge holiday being that most people were unsure of how to celebrate. Of course I dressed up however. I chose to be a shipwrecked pirate which was hard to do with such limited clothing with me in Australia. But in the end Halloween was great! We pretty much did a lot of the festive activities including carving pumpkins. Only thing I missed was the haunted houses and maybe a really good scary movie!

October ended with a bang and November flew in with more great adventures and an ending semester! But I’ll share about that in the next post!

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Part 1: October Goodness

Time November 23rd, 2015 in 2015 Fall, Australia, College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Hey guys!!

So it is almost time for me to leave!!! I know so soon. Time just flew by, but I feel like I say this each post.
Anyways, I wanted to talk about my last month and a half abroad. I will separate it into 3 parts: October part 1, October part 2, and November. A ton happened and so it feels inadequate to smush it all into one post.

October was a great month for my time abroad and I would even be willing to claim it as the rising action and climax of my time here. What made it so amazing was that I began to really settle in. For me relationships are extremely important, and by early October I had formed some solid groups of friends. While on campus I always had a lunch buddy and off campus I bonded with a couple of the girls on the program and in my church. However, I have to emphasize the relationships from my church. Most of my time was spent with Uni students from various campuses that were members at my church, and consequently we formed relationships that blossomed

Early in October, I got extremely pumped and excited for a Women’s Retreat where all the women at my church went to the Colloroy center and spent the weekend bonding and focusing on growing in relationship with God. This retreat became a highlight for me. It was a chance to get a way and just connect with others around me. The weekend was jam packed with lessons, dance parties, painting, and did I mention the center was literally right by the beach? I never cease to get excited over the proximity of the OCEAN so close. It always grabs hold of my attention. What was also so amazing about the retreat was the opportunity to form relationships with older women in the church who I may not see as often. I love learning from those with more experience in life, so these moments were cherished.

One other fun event was what we call a “Sister’s encouragement night”. The campus guys at my church get together to simply make the campus girls feel encouraged, loved, and appreciated. We all received a personalized scroll invitation for a night of “Fairytales”. We all came as various characters from Disney or fables which was a fun pre-cursor to Halloween. I went dressed as the lion from Lion King and the room was filled with every other character you could imagine. The night was fantastic and the guys served us 4 course meal that was extremely impressive especially keeping in mind these were Uni guys.

Though my times with the church were great ways build relationships with Australians, I also built great relationships with people in the program. One of closest friends has been Joanna. We have become somewhat of adventure buddies over the semester. They weren’t always super complex, but always an adventure nonetheless. For example, we went to explore Paddy’s Market which is a huge busy market in China Town before classes one afternoon and found ourselves playing dress up in wigs for about an hour. These types of small adventures with Joanna have been the unexpected highlights of my time in Australia.

At the same time, work for classes was starting to get really intense. In Australia universities, the work tends to be mostly at the end of the semester with little to nothing for the early and mid parts of the semester. For example, for one class I had to turn in 3 assignments and do a presentation that ended up being the totality of my semesters work. In one week! For a professional procrastinator like me, this was pretty anxiety inducing. However, it wasn’t all grudging work. For my Productions class, I had to do a performance analysis and that included going to see an show at Belvoir Theatre in Sydney. This turned out to be a really nice venue and the actors in the play were Australian famous. It was a great experience to see theatre performed in a different culture for someone like me who loves theatre and cultural studies in Anthropology.

I’ll end this section with a tip:

Find people you love, find activities you love, and find opportunities for mini-adventures. That is where you will find the things you fall most in love with.

 

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In the Final Days…

Time October 23rd, 2015 in 2015 Fall, Australia, College Study Abroad | No Comments by

My oh my oh my! Time is just flying at supersonic speeds! I am about three fourths of the way through my time here which is absolutely depressing. Oh so absolutely depressing. I love it here in Australia and in my time here since I last wrote my love for the country has multiplied a bazillion times. Here’s a few of the highlights from the month of September.

Country Life Weekend

As a\part of the IFSA program we got to go to Bathurst for the weekend, stay with a family, and get the full Australian country experience! Man, oh man was it an amazing weekend. We stayed with the sweetest family that sat on 16 acres of land and my favourite new family member, their new puppy Penny. We definitely became best friends for the weekend! Our host family made us amazing meals and were extremely considerate being that one of the girls couldn’t eat gluten and neither could the other in addition to a dairy and sesame allergy. But the food was delicious homemade classic Aussie dishes. Delicious. Our host dad picked us up in the classic Thunderbird and Bathurst is known for its race track so we had a great time with that combination. I felt like I was in the movies! We were also taken to a beautiful lookout then to feed the cows. That was amazing! The cows saw the hay and began a stampede toward the truck. I had never seen a cow close up and these ones were quite adorable and friendly… except for when they accidentally knocked one of the girls on her bottom. We laughed it off, but it was a ton of fun.

We also got to drive around a farm with over 116 acres of land and see wild kangaroos! It became a national geographic episode before our eyes when the farm dog jumped from the truck and chased down a kangaroo who was running for its life! Insane right? Only in Australia. But we had a ton of other farm adventures including feeding chickens, holding a lamb, watched the sunset, classic barbecues, and star gazing. Let me pause and emphasise the stars. THERE WERE SO MANY! And we saw 3, I repeat, THREE shooting stars in one night.

Country Life Weekend was such a nice and relaxing get away. Definitely my favourite of the IFSA programs and events so far!

Church Connections/ celebrations

A huge part of my time here has been with my church at the Sydney Church of Christ. I have spent a huge amount of time with the members there and many of them have become my closest friends. I can say I truly love them and get sad to think that once I’m back in the states I won’t regularly see them.

They have made me feel so welcomed here by taking me to see Sydney, including me in celebration after celebration, or being a place to nurture and grow in my faith. At one point I even lived with the couple of girls for about 2 weeks right before country life weekend. I think getting involved with people who hold your similar beliefs or interest is a key way to make the most of your abroad experience. I can say Australia would have been okay without them, but it has been mind blowingly out of this world amazing with them. Just saying.

Cairns

During our mid-semester break, we went and spent a week in Cairns. Man. MAN. DUDDDE! There is no way to describe or depict the beauty of this place. The sights, the weather, the people, and even the markets were all just so perfect.

We went snorkeling in the great barrier reef at two different locations. Which was amazing because I have never been snorkeling before and I have never ever ever seen anything so beautiful. The reef was so colorful and it felt like all those pictures from my biology classes came to life before my eyes. it is that moment where you reality blows your mind with how amazing it can be. I touched a giant clam, swam with schools of fish, saw Nemo, saw an eel, and turtles. Just wow.

We also had a day trip in the rainforest and this was just as amazing! We got to see the tree that inspired the Tree of Life from Avatar, do a few treks through the forest, swam in ice cold waterfalls, jumped from trees into lakes, loudly sang musical songs as we rode through the mountains, and saw a Cassowary only a few feet in front of me. Now if you dont know what a Cassowary is maybe the fact that it is the third largest and most deadly bird. I was terrified for my life, but I survived with great pictures too!

The rest of our trip included exploring the city, beaches, islands, and markets. Cairns was a highlight of my time here for sure. One of those things where I am still trying to convince myself it was reality.

Classes? Here comes the academics!

Coming back from Cairns, I was smacked in the face with the realization that I was still here for school. Within this past week was literally the due date of over half of my major assignment. The difference between home and Australian universities is that they have only a few assignments heavily weighted while we may have many smaller ones throughout the semester. In some ways this is nice in that I can feel free to enjoy the majority of the semester without pesky homeworks, but on the otherhand if you are a major procrastinator like myself, you may end up drowning in assignments that are worth 25-50% of your grade a week before. Scary right! Well luckily I had not been as bad of a procrastinator as normal, but I still was not prepared for the massive reminder that we were not here purely on vacation. And now its the final countdown!

Creating New Memories (The Moth, the zoo,)

I also have had a great time just exploring Sydney. My two recent favorites was going to see the Moth, a storytelling podcast I have been a huge fan of for years, at the Sydney Opera House in the huge beautiful concert hall and the other was my trip to the zoo primarily for the GIRAFFES. They are my ultimate favorite animals. I feel like as we get closer and closer to the end of my time here I want to soak up all I can from Sydney, so these excursions have been a great way to do that.

I have a ton more to share with you all, but I’ll save my October adventures for next time!

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Feelin’ the Aussie Love

Time August 31st, 2015 in 2015 Fall, Australia, College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Night is always my reflection and thinking time. And as I sit at Darling Harbor surrounded by my IFSA crew  and beautiful scenery I think back on the month that flew by. And though this is unfair to say to my home, I have fallen madly in love with this country. Or at least Sydney.

I think the key was finding my place and settling in to where I fit.

My IFSA crew has been an awesome group to discover what Australia has to offer. Having in common a love of travel and adventure, it is easy to always find someone ready to experience something new. Or sometimes they are a great resource for the nights that you want something familiar. We have even made somewhat of a tradition of cooking together every few weekends or so. First were the tacos,  second came breakfast for dinner, I’m thinking an Indian night is next. We also keep each other updated on things in the city we should experience. Sometimes its just exploring the city for ice-cream on a cotton candy cloud, but other times we stop by local bars for comedy nights that make any Tuesday or Thursday end on a high note. Side note, but it turns out that I will be studying stand-up comedy around Sydney for my Ritual, Play, and Performance class. What a great way to tie in academics and fun right! And now this weekend we spontaneously decided the fireworks at Darlington Harbor was a thing we couldn’t miss. I mean, its fireworks. Who doesn’t love fireworks before a beautiful view.

However, I can’t give my IFSA crew all the credit! The church I go to back home is an international church, and I was lucky enough to find out that there was one of our churches right here in Sydney. Now when I say this church community have been great at making me feel at home, I mean its as if they have a welcoming mat on their foreheads. I know that was awkward, but I can’t find a better way to explain how they have made my time here so comfortable. They immediately got me involved on campus with the campus ministry and help make sure I can get to all events. Besides our Sunday services and midweeks, the Sydney Church of Christ has events on campus such as devotional and bible talks that have allowed me to create close bonds with uni students who have the same faith as I. We have also bonded through hanging out like going paintball, making man-buns, or helping me work on my Australian accent. That support has been critical to my growth and development overall. My bonds have grown so much with my fellow students that I consider many of them dear friends I can’t bear thinking about how I will eventually have to leave them. Luckily it can just be there turn to visit me in the states!

Lastly, I really want to speak to my classes and Internship- that’s right! Did I mention how I got an amazing internship with the non- profit organization UnitingWorld. The internship has been amazing so far and I already am learning so much about what it takes to run a non-profit organization. The key thing that really makes a difference is that they really let us do work independently on projects that are important to their organization. Nice to be an intern that doesn’t just make the coffee! Independence also is very present in the classes. Though this was intimidating at first, the classes here expect more independent work compared to Universities in the United States. Which has been a good way to exercise my ability to manage my time, but also is really fun when you love your classes. I am taking a Productions theatre class, a class called Ritual, Play, and Performance, and an Indigenous Rights class. Though each of these classes are tough, the classes have been really interesting and fun. Plus I have been making friends with the students in my classes who have welcomed me into their various social groups and outings.

All in all, I am doing well. No, more than well. I really am enjoying each and every moment here and dreading the day I have to pack my bags to make the flight back home. Let’s just say, I’m feelin’ the Aussie love <3

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Im Here! I’m Excited! I’m ready!

Time July 30th, 2015 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by


Kangaroos? Check. Koalas? Check. Vegemite? Regrettably, check. Now where is P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney??? (Come on, any Nemo fans out there?)

That’s right! I’m in Sydney!!! I been here a little over a week and it still doesn’t feel completely real yet. It feels like I am just dreaming and any moment now I’m going to wake up to find myself back home in Atlanta. But no, it’s real.

But besides the sappy talk, let me tell you- this past week has been a non stop whirlwind of emotions and amazing things… well after I got past that never ending flight and the airport chaos.

The IFSA orientation was a ton of fun. From day one they gave us the aussie treatment and took us to all the things you would hope to see when down under. Of course my favourite was my time with the koalas, kangaroos, and my good friend the wallaby. That one definitely left me feeling guilty when looking at my coat of arms pizza with emu and kangaroo!

Then we arrived at our dwelling for the semester, and being completely honest, I don’t think I lived anywhere this nice my whole time in college. I love my flatmates and have enjoyed our adventures to all of Australia’s sites and surprises. This city has so much to offer. There is always something to do whether its a chocolate and coffee festival or a crab race at a local pub. I guess this is what it’s like to live in such a large city.

There are so many new and different things here, yet at the same time so similar to home. Which only makes the differences stand out that much more. The birds look like dinosaurs, the people are all so genuinely nice and helpful, the universities are huge, the views unbelievable, minimum wage is $17, Mcdonalds goes by Maccas,  and I can’t find alfredo sauce! So many little things that are just… different.

These differences are mostly exciting things and an opportunity to see what makes Australia so unique, but sometimes all the changes and new things can be exhausting. And those are the moments when home-sickness comes knocking at my door.

Those are the moments when I yearn to talk to my mom, but its 3 am at home. Or when looking at Bondi beach and just wishing your closest friends were there to experience it beside you. Sometimes it comes when I wish I could snuggle with my dogs, but the pillow must suffice. And the worst is when you want peanut butter or ketchup but its just not the same here. Of all the triggers, however, Facebook is the main perpetrator. The images of all that is going back home is just no good! And all that scrolling kills your internet (its quite precious here). In those times its just a want for something familiar.

But no worries! Those moments are fleeting. It may only take a FaceTime party with buddies or merely a dance party to some of my favorite music to pull you out of the runt. And in the meantime, IFSA makes it easy to turn to advisors that become your “mom abroad” (Hey Fiona!) or your new friends that you have inevitably made.

But now classes are starting, I’ve started going to church with lovely aussies, and I’m starting to settle in!

Next time mates!

– Dalyla <3

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Butterflies and Emotional Rollercoasters

Time July 15th, 2015 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Hey there people!

I’m Dayla, and to be honest I have never been one for much small talk, so let’s just dive in and tell you about this rollercoaster of nerves and excitement I have been riding.

The first and hardest hump in my Australia prep was actually not too bad! Here’s the image: Dalyla (That’s me!) staring at my suitcase, staring at my clothes surrounding me, staring at my suitcase, and coming to a final conclusion: this is not possible. The end. Mystery solved. How can an hyper over-packer who pretty much moved the entirety of her room into her dorm for the past few years be expected to fit a semester of living into a single suitcase! Despite my over-packing nature, I must complete the task. However, I  Dalyla McGee have some how successfully fit my suitcase in the 66 lbs limit. Well, being honest, I had lots of help from 3 of my most trusted and strong willed friends who  helped me with the crucial decisions of “three sweaters or four?” and gave me a dose of sound realism when I was adamant about the necessity of bringing my band of stuffed animals. And the best part is they worked just for pizza… and of course just being good friends.

But now that the biggest hill and battle was done I was coasting and enjoying the ride. I spent a few weeks to spend time with friends and simply gather goodbyes. I also gathered lots of advice warranted and unwarranted. The most popular were about the kangaroos, koalas, and vegemite. My favorite were the reminders of the huge spiders. Now that was lovely. Despite the silly comments and advice, those few moments with friends and family really reminded me of what I was going to miss.

Unexpectedly my roller coaster of emotions dived for the worst. I would suddenly drive past my streets I grew up on and am reluctant to leave them. I get frustrated that I will not be present for the opportunities and events at my university. Will I be forgotten? What if I hate it there? What if I’m the annoying and loud American? I mean, loud American’s are always telling me I am speaking to loud already. And then I reached the pit when I realized I would be the most alone I have ever been in my life. I have never been in a place where all familiarity is stripped like this. I have never been out of the country. I have never been out of the east coast. I have never done any of this before and I just question over and over “should I be doing this???”

So yes in all honesty the anticipation and nervousness is paired with a lot of fear. It even has  followed me to this very moment while I am hanging out with my mom in LA before heading to Australia, but I feel the excitement pushing me up the next hill for the thrills to come. I know that this experience will be beyond amazing and possibly life changing, but I would be lying to say I wasn’t nervous or scared. But I have confidence these are just a case of butterflies and cold feet. And my theatre experience tells me that once reality hits the butterflies will disappear and allow me to enjoy the ride with its highs and the lows.

 

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