I will say it again: this trip was worth every minute, every hour, every dime, every dollar, every sunburn, every second without Internet, and every game I missed of the World Cup! The TEAN program really has put together a great trip that I would suggest to anyone. Not only do you get to live in Australia for over five weeks, but you also get to see almost the entire country! Even places many locals have never been to! You get to go on exclusive field trips and tours. You get to meet people from each and every city. You get school credit. You get to bond with a group of dedicated Americans from all over the states. And best of all you get to explore one of the friendliest and most beautiful countries in the world. After this trip, I have even gone as far as seriously looking for jobs in the land down under just so I could spend so more time in this great place!
With that said, so much of my learning came from places that I would have never predicted. Yes, I learned a lot in class. Yes, I learned a lot from the Australians I met. Yes, I learned a lot by visiting some amazing unique places like Kakadu, Darling Harbor, the Great Barrier Reef, etc. Yes, I learned a lot from actually living in Australia. However, the place that I think I learned the most is from the friends I made and their stories and their perspectives and their wisdom and sharing all of those other learning experiences with them. I feel so grateful and fortunate to have met the people I met on this trip and I never could have imagined it better. These people made this study abroad the trip of a lifetime while also taking a part in making me who I am right this second. While some I may never meet again, others have become some of the best friends I will ever have. It’s impossible to put into words just how thankful I am to have met these people and had this experience and is equally impossible to put into words just how life changing (not to be too dramatic) these relationships and experiences have been and will be.
With that said, I have decided to make a quick end of the trip wrap up questionnaire that hopefully is helpful for someone one day:
Appreciate what you have when it’s still there. I’ve been back for less than 24 hours and already the cliché phrase “you don’t know what you have ‘til it’s gone” has become overwhelmingly true. One thing I wish I had done more was pause and look at all the things that I was taking for granted, then do those things even more so that I could never say that I didn’t take advantage of every opportunity that was there.
Food. It is expensive, but so is everything in Australia. I can be very cheap at home, but every meal I had on this trip was amazing and every dime I spent was worth it. I almost wish I ate more and tried even more new places! I am glad that I took the somewhat YOLO path of not focusing too much on the money and just looking at opportunities and not prices, and would suggest that to anyone else if possible.
Also, either an extension cord or power adapter that has multiple ports is a great investment (pretty much so you can charge multiple devices at once)!
Not meeting even more people. Yes I met a ton of people and got close to everyone I wanted to, but there are always more people and even though I am totally satisfied with my experience, maybe I could have met even more people!
Thing You Most Wish You Had Brought:
More Emergen-C. I only got sick once, but others got sick two or three times. I could not find any super high vitamin C supplements, so I could have brought more.
Meh, this one is hard. Melbourne was the most fun to explore and most artsy. Sydney had the most things to do. The Great Barrier Reef is a must do.
As I have mentioned way too many times, the Asian food in Australia is fantastic. Thai, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, all of it! And the seafood is also amazing! Get as much fish and chips, sushi, pad thai, etc. as possible!
American Word – Aussie Word
Flip Flops – Thongs (now that made some awkward situations)
Detergent – Washing Powder
Sunglasses – Sunnies
Mom – Mum
American Football – Grid Iron
Mosquito – Mozzy
Mall – Arcade
Flashlight – Torch
Gas (like for cars) – Petrol
As you can see, if you can shorten a word, the Aussies have!
I will try to add more as I think of more advice, but my biggest advice is DO IT! Go to Australia! If you want to over summer and get some credits, this program is AMAZING! Thank you for reading, and now back to trying to get over this 17 hour jetlag….