My study abroad trip was a life changing experience. Not only did I fall in love with this world away from the East Coast, but I grew into this new version of myself. I wrote a blog post about my trip so check that out if you want most of the cool stories.
There was a unique and small component to my trip that I found to be humbling. On my first CityCat (ferry) ride back to my dorm, I had this one boat guy. I was a scared American tourist who didn’t know anything about Australia and just wanted to get back to my dorm so I could go to bed. I felt awkward being on the boat and I was struggling being so far away from home alone for the first time. At the time, I had just found some type of confidence in myself, but I was scared to show it off especially in a foreign country that I knew relatively nothing about. On this boat ride I had a glimpse of what the world will be like when I am truly on my own after college. It was equally daunting and thrilling, and it showed me that I had a lot to experience and learn. When I got on the boat, I timidly asked if it was going to the University of Queensland. The boat guy said yes. He then was nice enough to tell me as I timidly sit in front of the boat when we were close to the stop. 2 weeks go by and I am now on my last CityCat ride back to my dorm. I am alone again as I wanted to get to bed early before my flight. As I wait at the CityCat, I am the one helping people to which ferry to take. The CityCat arrives into the station, and I see the same boat guy. I remember him and I felt this sense of calmness and completion. A lot happened in the 2 weeks, and I go up to him and tell him that he was the first boat guy on my CityCat. I wanted to thank him for getting me home safely and making me feel safe on my first ride alone in a foreign country and that the current ride was potentially my last one ever (I don’t know if I’ll ever visit Brisbane again). We had a conversation about my time in Australia, my major, and the course I was taking there. It was my favorite conversation I had in Australia. He was smiling ear to ear because I thanked him for doing his job. On the last CityCat ride, I was wearing a dress, had a bunch of new jewelry on, and had this sense of confidence that I wasn’t scared to show off. As I was walking back to my dorm, I was smiling ear to ear because my lifechanging trip ended in the best way possible. It came full circle.
As my trip came full circle, I think back at how Australia changed me as a person. While my core of value of growth remains, I now value courage highly whereas I didn’t do so before. During my experience, I faced my fears on a consistent basis. Whether it was going up to a new person and starting a conversation with them, speaking my mind even if it wasn’t the mutual agreement, or doing something new that I previously found to be scary. I have a lot of fears and I learned that living in fear isn’t fun. When you face your fear and you try something new that’s when you have the most fun. I like routine, structure, and plans. Anything that goes against that scares me. Every day on this trip at least one of these three things were broken, and I was scared out of my mind. When I faced my fears, I had the time of my life. Not only that, but I learned the most and I grew the most as a person during these moments.
In Australia, I embraced every experience. If we were doing something the only reason why I was on my phone was to document it. My phone was on airplane mode during most of our excursions and I took in every moment. Australia is this hidden pocket of pure beauty. Every place I experienced was better than the last. The beaches, the city, the nature that surrounds the country. These experiences opened my eyes to the world beyond on my phone. I became less attached to what was going on outside and I was able to enjoy life. It’s really beautiful and special.
Enjoying life and absorbing all of it gave me a wider knowledge and appreciation for the world. Oddly, it made me more confident in who I am because I felt that I was lucky and honored to experience everything that I did.
In life it’s rare that you get a full circle experience. Everything that I experienced within those two weeks built me into this person that I am proud to be. I am no longer timid to do something that is out of my comfort zone. I now conduct myself with confidence in everything I do. I am pretty awesome and I really do love who I am today. All of this because of this experience to Australia.
To Australia and every Australian or person that was apart that I’ve met or interacted with during my time there, thank you. All of you are special people.
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