“If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within.” These are the words of Richard Slimbach as he describes the influence of global learning. I feel as if this quote couldn’t possibly do a better job embodying my experiences in Australia for the past five months. Not only have I become an active member of the world around me through global learning, but I have also found an entire new world within myself – one that I am just beginning to discover. This journey has allowed me to open my mind to not only my host community, but the global community as well; appreciating all aspects of life that are much deeper than the surface. Slimbach writes, “external experience may occupy most of our waking hours, but we ultimately live from the depths of our being – from our intentions, ideas and impulses,” (65). This course has developed my skill to reflect on my own experiences, and furthermore forcing me to fully immerse within the community. Although the primary language in Australia is English, there are still plenty of cultural differences and norms which make it intimidating for Americans studying abroad to become a part of the community. This past semester, I had the opportunity to observe two of my roommates take on Australia much differently than I had. Outside of class and the occasional shopping session, their interaction with locals was minimal. Their friend group consisted of all Americans who were also studying abroad. It was evident that they were not willing to break out of their communitas – which is acceptable if they had no intention to leave the comfort zone. I, on the other hand, came to Australia with a purpose – I wanted to take full advantage of any opportunity that came my way while overseas. Upon meeting several amazing Australian friends, I took advantage of any offering they proposed; whether it be applying for a job, or going to a local concert at an exclusive rooftop bar. I discovered that by saying “yes,” endless opportunities were placed in front of me to become a part of the community. The friends I made over these past months, I will continue to stay in touch with for a lifetime.
My time has come to an end here. Am I sad? Yes and no. Yes because I have to leave behind a life that I just created for myself, along with breathtaking landscapes and unforgettable people. But on the other hand, no. No because I know that Australia has given me exactly what I wanted to get out of it. I believe it is time to move on to the next chapter with the new set of skills and mature mindset I have developed. I can truthfully say that I have ticked every box of what I wanted to accomplish while abroad… and then some. By going through my own rite of passage in Australia, I will be able to use this new skillset in order to become the adult I want to be at home
Now that it is time to say goodbye, my priority is to spend my last few days with my newly made friends – particularly Nick. As mentioned in previous travel logs, Nick has been kind enough to share his Australian world with me: from his friends, to his family, to his workplace. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities he has given me. We will most likely find ourselves at a bar on our last night reminiscing of our past semester over a couple of pints. Although this may not seem too exciting to most, it couldn’t possibly be a better way to end my experience.
Andrew McCarthy states, “The farther I travel, the closer I am to myself.” This quote is meaningful to me because as I made this leap of faith across the world, I began to connect with my inner-self. The only person I became dependent on was myself, where I truly tested my capabilities as an individual. This experience has lit a spark inside of me where I now want to see more of the world end experience more life lessons. The feeling is addictive. With the skills taught in this class, I will be able to constructively tackle any new land I venture to. Furthermore, Australia will always have a place in my heart, as it was the start of a new and improved me. This is not a goodbye, Australia, this is a see you soon.