Home is what you make of it

As most people know, majority of the students that attend university in Australia tend to live at home and just drive themselves to and from their own classes so I knew this would be one of the biggest changes I would endure while studying abroad.  Leaving Sydney and all of my friends, family and boyfriend was one of the hardest things I have had to do to this day and I still remember how much of an emotional wreck I was at the departure gate at Sydney airport.  As soon as I walked through customs, I was questioning myself as to why I was going overseas and how much I wish I wasn’t moving anywhere as I would just prefer to stay at home.  The entire 32 hours it took me to get to SUNY Oswego I was thinking about this and counting down the days until I got to go home.

The first day I was here was one of the hardest ones. I moved into an empty room and essentially had to setup my life there for the next 4 months.  Unpacking my bags I was still thinking about how long I had to go until I got home.  The days did get easier as time went on though and I’m lucky enough to be on this exchange with one of my good friends from back home.  Once my room was setup and I got into the swing of a new routine, it did get easier and after 10 days of being here, I can honestly say that I had done a complete 360 and was dreading the day I had to go home.  Everyone here is so nice and welcoming and the dorm I was placed in is the best one on campus! I was extremely lucky to be put here as it is one of the smallest ones on campus but we have such a warm community.  There hasn’t been a day that has gone by that I am not welcomed back when I walk through the front door, and there are always people in the lounge area or sitting by the front desk that I know.  The larger halls on campus do not have any sense of community at all and everyone tends to just stay in their room and most people don’t even know who lives next door to them.  I can honestly say that if I sit at the front desk and watch people walk in and out, I will know majority of them by face and maybe even name!

I am now just past the one-month mark and love every second of it.  I have already made so many new friends and a tonne of memories I know I will treasure forever.  Considering how much of a homebody I was before coming over here, I have surprised myself about how well I am coping being away from home.  That being said, when you are surrounded by friends 24/7 it’s hard to feel alone.  FaceTime and Viber are also a huge help so I talk to someone back home pretty much everyday.  One thing I do miss about home though is home cooked meals. Don’t get me wrong, the meals here are amazing, it’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet at all times with the amount of meal choices they have available at each meal, but nothing beats a home cooked meal.

Within the past month, I have already been to Niagra Falls, joined a bunch of clubs on campus, participated in a Volleyball tournament, become Public Relations Chair for my Hall (dorm) Council and went swimming in Lake Ontario!  I can honestly say that if I were back home, I probably would not have even considered doing any of these things before I came here.  Being in a different country on the other side of the world really pushes you to do things and volunteer for things that you wouldn’t normally do (I have never played volleyball in my entire life haha).  I am so grateful that all of my friends, family and boyfriend have supported me to go on this trip.  It really is the opportunity of a lifetime and I really cannot stress enough how much I recommend doing it!  It does take a little while to settle in, but it’s not like you’re on holidays living out of a suitcase.  I have my own room and everything I need is here and it is set up just how I would like it so it really does feel like home!