Written by Kelley O'Donnell from Providence College
After I made my way from Boston to LA, missing one flight due to a delay and just barely making the last flight of the night from LA to Sydney, I finally made it to Australia. It was 10 am Saturday morning when I arrived in the Sydney airport and I just had a one hour bus ride until I finally arrived in Wollongong to begin my journey.
The anticipation to go abroad felt never ending, back in January all my friends had already gone back to school and most other study abroad students had taken off as well, so I had a month full of work and anticipation. After the long months of anticipating this amazing experience I had finally arrived. I don’t think I have ever been more overwhelmed than I was during O week. The entire week was fast paced and full with things to do and see, from orientation, to events, to going out at night, and all over again in the morning. People were talking about all the cool trips they wanted to plan and all the different places that are “must sees” here. It was an amazing week filled with excitement, great experiences, and pretty cool people, but it was overwhelming as heck. This week was the first week of classes at uni, which was both exciting and unfortunate.
Some of the things that I have learned in my first two weeks abroad are, not everything is going to go the way you planned, and there are going to be differences from how you carry out your daily life here as compared to home. My best advice for when things go wrong or not as you planned is to just go with it, there is no sense in wasting emotion and time on these things that you cannot change. For example, my luggage did not arrive until three days after I got here and as frustrating as that is, I knew there was not much I could do to get my bags here any faster. That being said I recommend you listen to your mom when she tells you to pack a few outfits in your carry on, you’ll thank her later I promise. When it comes to differences in your daily life when you go abroad, well isn’t that the whole point of studying abroad? Embrace the differences and take the time to understand why those differences exist rather than assuming there is no explanation. I think being open to new and different experiences is how you get the most out of your time abroad. I hope you enjoy following our journey abroad in Wollongong, and maybe we’ll even be able to convince you to come see the gong for yourself!