Final Thoughts

7 February 2019

After a year abroad at the University of Queensland, Natalia reflects on her time in Australia, the things she'll miss and the things she is looking forward to next.

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My year abroad has come to an end. I leave Australia for good in a week, and I’m really not sure how to feel! I suppose writing this last blog post also gives the whole thing a sort of finality that I didn’t expect. Let me start by saying I’m so glad I went on a year abroad. I never had any doubts about the fact that I would enjoy it, but I was definitely nervous when I first set off on a one way ticket to Australia. My July 2017 past self is a lucky girl! I’ve met so many wonderful people and travelled all over Australia. It’s been very difficult saying goodbye to my friends who live all over the world, but we’ve decided that rather than be sad about leaving, we’re going to be excited about seeing each other in our own countries. Luckily, a lot of my friends live in Europe, and as an Australian might tell you, that’s really not far away from London! A return trip from London to Oslo costs as little as £20, compared to a return trip (within Australia!) from Brisbane to Sydney, which in pounds costs around £120. All the more reason to get back to Europe and explore!

Sydney Harbour Bridge

I’ve thought about this a lot. An Australian in the UK would do a lot of travelling to see what the whole country has to offer (just as I’ve done in Australia), and that’s inspired me to plan a road trip around England. Time to make the most of our own countries! Speaking of which, I know there’s a lot to look forward to after my year abroad. I’m excited to see my family and friends, who have had their own wonderful experiences this year. I can’t wait to enjoy the English summer - pubs, long days, country walks, sunshine! Another thing is the lovely selection of English creatures like squirrels (rather than possums), bumble bees (rather than funnel web spiders), deer (rather than kangaroos), and singing robins (rather than screaming ibises!). 

Byron Bay

Of course, I’ll miss a lot of the peculiar things in Australia: the fascinatingly perplexing politics, the fascinatingly perplexing sports, the fascinatingly perplexing flora and fauna. Hmm… come to think of it, Australia is an odd but wonderful place, and I’m so pleased I’ve got to know it so well over the last year. Its delicious coffee, easy going people, endless sunshine, pristine beaches, efficient infrastructure, and complex (but very interesting) history are just some of the things I loved most about Australia. 

Final thoughts (in three words):
Did I ‘find myself’? Definitely. A bit.
What do I hope to bring back to the UK? Thanking bus drivers.
Best memory? Every single one.
Worst memory? Outback shower centipedes.
What did I learn? Vegemite isn’t bad!
What will I miss most? People, weather, lifestyle.
What won’t I miss? Sweaty, sandy suncream.
Best advice for someone going to Australia? “How ya going?”

By Natalia Abell