I have self-diagnosed early onset reverse culture shock. That’s right – adjusting to life back home in a few days will honestly be more difficult than adjusting to life in Australia, I think.
In my time studying abroad in Melbourne, I’ve become an Aussie at heart in more ways than one. I mentioned in my first blog post that I was hoping to pick up an accent. And while I’m unconvinced that I have, despite what my family tells me, I’ve definitely picked up a lot of Aussie slang. Most slang here is shortening words so, to be honest, I just sound more basic when I use it but that’s neither here nor there.
For this last post, I thought it’d be fitting to write a list of the things I’ve learned the last four months:
- During my time in Australia, it’s safe to say that I’ve become a Jedi master of public transit. When I arrived, I was a mere Padawan of trains and buses. Now I know the system so well I can, and sometimes do, outsmart Google Maps’ suggestions. The only constant in my exercise routine has been running to catch the tram, which I do very consistently, despite knowing ahead of time exactly when I need to be there. I’ll never learn!
- I’ve realized the best way to describe Australia is as a geographically reversed California with the best beaches up north, the more liberal people down south, fewer people and less politics in general and, therefore, more chill. You could say I’ve become a chill, less politically inclined beach bum as a result.
- I’ve stayed in nine hostels in the last four months, which beats my previous record of zero. Nothing phases me anymore. I’ve seen things in hostels, and in my travels in general, that I can’t explain and things that I can but would rather suppress.
- After four months of living here, I’ve gotten pretty used to all the things that struck me as odd when I first arrived. But to this day, I’ll do a double-take and be like, “Who’s letting that Pomeranian drive?!” I guess some things you never adjust to. Another good example of this is the opposite seasons. The leaves are turning colors right now – it’s June. I’m not going to lie, a Christmas song came on my Pandora shuffle station the other day and I didn’t change it. I just sang along, confused, mystified and truly contemplating making gingerbread men.
- Sometimes I sit back and laugh at my naïve, fresh-faced, just-arriving-in-Australia me. I was convinced that buying a flyswatter was 110 percent necessary to dispatch poisonous spiders that might try to claim my life. I haven’t used it once.
It’s with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to a place I’ve truly learned to call home. I’ve made such a life for myself here, met so many amazing people and seen so many incredible places along the way.
Should you have any questions about the mysterious land of Australia, you know who to ask.
Kaitlyn Terry attends Grand Canyon University and studied abroad in Melbourne, Australia. You can read more about her adventures on the Grand Canyon University study abroad blog.