The end of an experience: my feelings about coming home

It is time to go home already!? Where did the time go! It felt like just yesterday when I was having an emotional farewell to my friends and family at the airport and feeling incredibly nervous about my new adventure: studying abroad at Regis University which is located in Denver, Colorado.

But before leaving to go overseas a few things had made me incredibly nervous to the point where it almost made me change my mind:

  1. I did not know anything really about Denver or Colorado nor knew anyone that had travelled there previously to seek advice.
  2. I knew I was going to be the only student from Australian Catholic University so I didn’t know if I was going to be the only Australian there completely.
  3. I did not know how I would emotionally handle the whole experience as I had never lived on my own or travelled on my own.

Most of it was unknown, which both excited me and scared me all at the same time.

Now it’s the end of December and I could not be sadder that it all ended so fast. First I thought saying goodbye to everyone at home (even though I was coming back at the end of the year) was the hardest part, but I would definitely say finishing college was just as hard if not even harder. This is the best choice I have made and I would re-do it in a second. Let me go back to the points I made before that had me so nervous before my trip

Firstly, after doing some research and exploring when I arrived I got used to my new home quite quickly. Denver, Colorado is such a beautiful place and it will be strange not to be able to view the mountains from where I live everyday. That is something I will definitely miss. The mountains and scenery that Colorado has, which is unlike any place I have ever seen. Looking at this all as an adventure of the unknown and unfamiliar definitely helped to look at this experience positively and made it more fun.

My second point about being the only student from ACU also made me incredibly nervous and I ended up being the only Australian on campus overall. But I loved it. Everyone found me incredibly interesting and I had been told I am the first Australian many of the Regis students have met, as there are not many living in Denver. I will probably never have the same experience of being so unique and different to everybody else. Luckily, most could understand about 95% of the things I said, give or take a few words or phrases here and there. But that’s what made it quite funny at times. Being known as ‘The Australian’ made me quite memorable to people at Regis University. It was fun to teach people about Australian culture and many people would ask me amusing questions about our slang, way of life, our animals and so on.

My third point about the emotional side sometimes being a struggle was definitely part of the experience of being away from home. Of course towards the end of it I started to feel homesick and had never felt like this before so it was sometimes difficult to handle. Having made so many new friends to talk to about it made it easier, as well as being in contact with other Aussies that were studying abroad in the States. It definitely comes , but you let it out through different ways, whether it be tears, a run, shopping… everyone handles it differently. For me it definitely did not happen often because I was having such a good time.

I leave in a few days to go back to Sydney, and I could not be happier and proud of myself for what I have done. I am also extremely sad that I won’t see my beautiful friends which I wish I could pack in my suitcase and take with me. But I so happy that I have made friends for life. I have become a much more positive, confident and outgoing person from being able to accomplish this on my own. I am also so excited to have a story that many others have not done and I look back on this experience happily knowing that I have grown. So grateful for this year and the crazy adventure it was. To anyone studying abroad in the near future… make the most of it, as this will be one amazing experience that you are about to encounter!!!