After 20 some odd hours on a plane, I had finally arrived in Sydney, Australia — my new home for the next six months. Overwhelming, but I wasn’t having a mental breakdown, so I was off to a good start.
I thought the first day was off to a good start, but it was bigger than that. My trip was off to a good start. Within the first 24 hours of my study abroad journey I learned that I could traverse three international airports by myself. Okay, maybe some nice dads had to help me with my luggage in the airport, but other than that — by myself.
There is that old saying, “You learn something new every day.” In my experience, it has been true. So, in my first week on the other side of the planet from everything I’ve ever known, I learned even more. Here’s a bit of my running list, one item for each day I have been here:
- There is a beautiful island nation off the east coast of Africa called Mauritius. My roommate happens to be from there, and I had never even heard of it before.
- In other nations outside the United States, there are very strict rules about internet usage. A new friend from China was telling me that they are not allowed to use social media, and that she has only ever used it on her trips to Malaysia.
- McDonalds and Subway seem to be universally reliable. My Big Mac will be a Big Mac in Sydney or Atlanta.
- “Multicultural” takes on a different meaning in Sydney. I’ve been to many major cities in the U.S. and Europe, and Sydney is by far the most inclusive and varied place I have ever been.
- The Australian government pays homage to the aboriginal people, as opposed to the U.S. government, who hasn’t talked about the Native Americans in years. All over Sydney you can find signs honoring the original people of the land the city is now built on, and it makes me happy to see even that small sign of respect.
- Friends, even brand new friends, make all the difference in the world. Literally.
- Public transportation may have you on a train for four hours a day, but if it is spent with new friends and allows you to take on new adventures, it is so worth it.
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