By Olivia Dove (University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia).
And so, as was inevitable, I find myself back in good ol’ Manchester.
Sadly, this will be the last blog I write here and I would like to spend it giving you all a brief summary of certain aspects that I’ve had to cope with post-Australia.
This is a big issue for me. Whilst Manchester looks beautiful when sunny, it is fair to say that England on the whole is generally colder than Australia. I’m naturally a warm-climate kind of person (proved by the fact that my asthma and dermatitis cleared up completely in Oz…) so coming back to the land of coats and scarves wasn’t an exciting prospect.
The biggest shock was leaving the plane when I landed in London. I hurried to the car with my parents and huddled in the backseat, hiding from the chilly air. One of the first questions that friends ask upon my return: ‘Missing Australian weather?’ And the answer is yes, always yes. So much yes.
But it’s not all gloomy; I really do love wearing trackie bottoms and large jumpers, so there is a positive in this colder climate!
An Australian barman mistook me for an Australian student. My academic tutor said I had a ‘twang’ in my voice. More than one rugby fresher were confused when I said I was from England. It’s dimmed now, but for the first month of being back in England, everyone commented on my accent to the point where I had to put on an English accent at times. It provided entertainment to some, and confusion to the rest.
Curiously, when I skyped my Australian friends, they said I sounded ‘As beautifully English as ever’.
Rugby and playing sports in general
I missed rugby a lot during my semester abroad. I had hoped to play rugby or Aussie Rules out there, but I wasn’t in the country during the season, much to my disappointment. Returning to the sport and, more importantly, my team was absolutely wonderful. They’re a crazy bunch of girls and I would’ve felt homesick for them had I not known I was coming back.
Relating to the weather, playing sports in Australia is much nicer (more people go jogging there for a reason!), especially when you can get a nice tan during a match. Wind, rain and mud isn’t always glorious to play in, but I have to admit that the cold is refreshing at times.
All in all, I’d be much sadder about returning to Manchester if it wasn’t for my rugby girls!
After leaving the University of Queensland, I spent two months living out of a suitcase. I travelled to the North and South islands of New Zealand and visited the following Australian cities: Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Cairns and Townsville. And I had time to visit my friends along the way. Safe to say, I have found it strange being in the same accommodation for more than a month. I went to Durham last weekend and have already started playing my summer holiday – I’m addicted to travelling! But it’s something that I am willingly addicted to as there’s no other pastime I would rather spend spare money or time on.
Now, this will sound crazy. But I feel homesick for Brisbane. Pretty badly, really. Which is strange considering it’s not my original home.
I miss my friends, the lifestyle, the buildings, the river, the university, the animals (especially the animals!) and the sun. I felt more at home living in Brisbane for only four months than I have anywhere else in my life.
I’ve never felt homesick before (as much as I love my parents, skype is always there) and so this new feeling has left me feeling quite glum. The high workload this semester has been warmly welcomed as a distraction.
But it’s not all sadness, as I have a volunteer placement secured in Brisbane post-graduation next year!
Studying abroad has made me realise what I want from life. And what I want is to live somewhere with crazy animals, plenty of sun, and the ability to walk around barefoot.
Brisbane, I’ll be back. See you soon.