It’s been just over a month since I returned home from Perth, and I am finally beginning to re-adjust to living normal life in the not-so-sunny English summer. Having had some time to reflect upon the past 6 months, this final blog will describe the travelling I squeezed in en-route home, before detailing the highs and lows of settling back in to life at home.
My journey home was somewhat unconventional. Following the goodbye’s that proved even more saddening than I had predicted in my last blog, with several of my friends from college I organized to go travelling through Asia en route to the UK. The first stop for our internationally diverse group (containing 2 Brits, 3 Americans and a token Australian) was Bali, which we had been informed was the Australian equivalent of Magaluf. Despite the extensive number of bars and opportunities to go out, we managed to visit a variety of cultural sites, including the first of many temples we would see in Asia. Furthermore, we were able to jet-ski, banana boat and paraglide over the sunny beaches in the space of one action-packed morning, which proved an unforgettable experience.
Our time in Bali proved far too brief, and after only 4 days in Indonesia it was time for more goodbyes. My friend Kaya, from Notre Dame University in Indiana, and I left the rest of the group to continue our adventure. Next stop: Bangkok. We had pre-arranged to travel through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam with G-Adventures, which organized accommodation and a tour guide throughout the 14 day trip. Of the many incredible experiences we had touring through these spectacular countries, the highlights included sailing through Thaliand’s floating markets, visiting Angkor Wat, the largest temple complex on Earth, and touring the harrowing Cambodian killing fields. What made our trip particularly memorable was the kindness of the ordinary people throughout these countries, which enabled us to emerge ourselves in their cultures, even for a brief period of time. Overall, travelling back to the UK via Asia was an unforgettable way to end my semester, and I would highly recommend travelling as much as possible to any future study abroad students.
Following the completion of our G-Adventures tour and a mix-up by my flight company, which left me both stressed and stranded in Singapore, I made it back to the UK. What initially struck me were actually the similarities between Australian and English culture. Despite picking up a few ‘Aussie phrases’, there is no need to re-adjust to a different language, whilst University is run in a fairly similar manner, and the food and drink is almost identical. The British weather, I will admit, did leave a lot to be desired.
Naturally, it was fantastic to see both my family and friends in the UK, with my first priority being to give my dog Sacha a long-overdue hug. After a few weeks of getting back into the swing of normal life, however, I began to miss my former college mates back in Perth. This is where Facebook came into it’s element, as the ability to drop someone a message who could be anywhere, anytime, has meant I am still in regular contact with my good mates down under.
Additionally, I always had the comforting knowledge that I was likely to see some Aussie’s again. In fact, I have already had 2 of the lads stay with me in Newcastle, with another 3 mates saying they will pop in on their travels around Europe over the next year. This serves as the perfect summary to studying abroad: it is an incredible opportunity to learn about another part of the world academically, culturally and personally, which will remain hugely significant even after you return.