[Catie Allwright | Contributing Writer]
Seeing everyone’s study abroad blogs has got me feeling all nostalgic about my experience with the University of Western Sydney from July 2012 to July 2013. I honestly cannot believe that it’s been so long since I returned. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I was back and I’m infinitely jealous of everyone who is still exploring all the corners of the globe!
Where the Wild Things Are. Jellybean Pool, Glenbrook.
As I discovered when I got back, everyone normally asked the overwhelming question: “How was it?!” It’s really bloody hard to summarise a year of your life succinctly. “Amazing” is usually my go-to, because I usually don’t have the time to do myself justice, but I thought I’d share some highlights with you…
I suppose my most salient memories are road-tripping 300 miles north of Sydney with a group of friends, then chilling on the beach with campfires and guitars every night. Jumping out of a plane on my 21st birthday, travelling to Cairns and snorkeling along the Great Barrier Reef. I spent a lot of my days rock jumping in the Blue Mountains or sunbathing on stunning beaches, and a lot of my evenings clubbing in Sydney or hanging out with my new pals.
Breakfast stop in Mudgee, roadtripping back to Sydney from a festival in Dubbo.
But I guess that wasn’t really everyday life. Just like home, there were too many hours spent sleeping and binge watching The Office (although Netflix wasn’t mainstream yet…) or studying and stressing over various assignments and exams. Culturally it’s very similar to here, except everyone has better accents, is happier and has a tan that’s natural. Plus there’s a bit of a price reversal, food and drink cost the Earth but you can roam it freely as public transport is heavily subsidised; there’s no excuse to not hop on a train somewhere!
Perfect sunset on New Year’s Eve overlooking Sydney Harbour.
I urge anyone who has the opportunity to study abroad to seize it. Imagine how excited and nervous you were to start at the University of Hertfordshire and how incredible it was to settle into your new life. Now multiply that by a billion, add some long haul flights and some sunshine. Now you have a slight idea what it’s like to study abroad, and of course, I’m biased towards Australia. The effervescent cities, the sprawling rainforests, the rugged coasts, the indigenous wildlife; it’s like nowhere else and you have to see it for yourself.
Images: Catie Allwright