Christmas Break

25 June 2020

"The decision on whether to go home for Christmas is a huge one". Eleanor spent her year studying at the University of Queensland. In this blog she discusses her decision to go home for Christmas and taking advantage of her summer holidays by travelling.


To stay or not to stay

The decision on whether to go home for Christmas is a huge one. For me, I could not imagine Christmas Day without the cold and dreariness of Northern England in December, or without being with family, sharing amazing food and gifts by the fire with a glass of champagne. But I also had the option to experience something completely new; a Christmas Day on the beach, with friends, having a BBQ, but of course half way across the world from those closest to me. I was advised by many to stay in Australia, and embrace my year abroad in its entirety by staying for the Christmas season. However, in the end my decision to go home was right for me. It reminded me how lucky I am to have such wonderful people waiting for me at the other end, while also revitalising my spirit through the comfort of being at home, to get back out there and embrace another 6 months of being so far away. Don’t give in to the pressure of what others tell you to do, and make the decision that is right for you and your situation.

Going home temporarily after 6 months away is a strange experience. It’s emotional and exciting, but also draining. The first couple of days of intense socialising and reuniting with people, you will feel yourself being overwhelmed by the questions and changes that may have occurred. Then, once this novelty fades, everything feels pretty normal pretty quickly. Once your daily routines begin to resume, It will almost feel like you have never left. This was the point I felt ready to leave again. Not in a negative way of course, but more like I had gotten what I came for and I was ready to do it all over again. Prioritise yourself and your own wellbeing, and make time for the people you care for the most. Do make the most of your time at home, don’t become complacent. Complacency will just make it harder for you to leave.

Travelling outside of Australia

Luckily for me, the Australian Christmas break is also the Australian summer holiday. I had 4 months off in total and was able to use my time, as well as going home, to travel to places outside Australia. My travel plans were of course dependent on money and time. Many of my friends were able to travel all across Asia and the Pacific Islands. With less time, and a mediocre bank balance, I prioritised the one place I wanted to go the most. New Zealand! I spent 5 weeks living out of a van travelling the North and South Island with a friend I had made in Australia. I had the most amazing time, NZ is such a special place and I would recommend anyone doing a year abroad in Australia to make the time to travel there. By not squeezing too much into my summer, I was able to save a bit of extra cash so when I got back to Brisbane where I study, I was able to go on weekend trips and still make the most of my time before the semester started.

Whether you go home for Christmas or not, do put time aside to travel where you can. Make sure to plan your travelling well so you can utilise your resources and go to as many places as you can fit in and afford. You may as well make the most of being in the Southern Hemisphere while you’re here!