Indiana University Overseas Study

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The Defining Moment

kiefer_adam

Charles Bridge in Prague

Me posing for a photo on the Charles Bridge in Prague, taken just after arriving.

Study Abroad is made up of a lot of moments. Some are small and some are huge, some are glorious and others aren’t. These moments are all a part of what makes the experience so dynamic, and in my opinion, worth it. They are also what make you grow.

When I first arrived in Berlin, I had a lot of insecure moments and moments of panic. I found myself in a German-speaking world when I myself don’t speak German. I felt like a freshman again: overwhelmed by the number of new faces and potential friends who surrounded me during orientation. I also have never truly been on my own before and found myself feeling quite lonely in the beginning.

All of these feelings and seemingly overwhelming moments, however, led to growth. Slowly, I grew more confident while ordering bread at the bakery: trying to say any German words or phrases I knew when given the chance. I also began making friends with the people on my floor and in my program. And I even began growing more comfortable with the fact of being on my own.

There was, however, one moment that I consider to be defining in my growth, which I would like to share.

A group of friends and I decided one weekend we wanted to take a trip to Prague over the weekend. Being early on, I was still nervous and unsure about the idea, but also craving adventure, so I decided to go.

Selfie in Prague

Our group selfie taken after we arrived in Prague.

Old Town Square

The view from the old town square in Prague.

Three of my friends posing for a picture on the Charles Bridge in Prague.

Three of my friends posing for a picture on the Charles Bridge in Prague.

I will make a long story short by saying that we missed our bus. By a painful two minutes. Determined to make the weekend happen, we looked into other means of getting there. We quickly learned that the next bus to Prague wasn’t departing until 3:00am, eight hours from our initial departure time.

I wanted to call my mom, I wanted to cry, and I wanted to give up on the adventure. I had been through so much in the past two weeks and I couldn’t handle the road block before me. I couldn’t, until I realized I could.

I stood there at that bus station and I looked around and I distinctly remember thinking, “You can do this. You didn’t study abroad to give up so easily on adventure,” and I immediately knew I was going to be okay. I immediately knew that I was and am capable. And that was huge for me.

Up until then, I had felt very unsure of myself and my capabilities. But it was that defining moment at the bus stop, where that all washed away, and I knew I was just fine.

And in case you were wondering, we did decide to take the early morning bus ride to Prague, and I am beyond happy we did because it was a beautifully rewarding trip, filled with its own unforgettable moments.

So here I am in Berlin with an overwhelming excitement for the moments yet to come, and a newfound confidence in myself that I’ll be able to handle whatever else is in store.

Me at the John Lennon wall being amazed by its beauty.

Me at the John Lennon wall being amazed by its beauty.

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So You Think You Can Be A Londoner

Abbey Hudetz. London, England

I have always believed the term “tourist” held a negative connotation. When traveling, I make a conscious effort to navigate my new surroundings with ease and appear as a local to the untrained eye. As unreasonable and frivolous as this expectation may be—that one can integrate themselves into a new city as soon as they hop off the plane—I have always insisted upon it. Forgoing maps, extensive research into the best ‘local’ gems, and God forbid I ever solicit directions from a stranger. Despite the countless hours I spent poring over articles about trendy up-and-coming restaurants or lost (because I was too spiteful to ask for directions), traveling abroad everyone is inevitably flagged as “the American.”

Yes, my thick Chicago accent and extensive knowledge of junk food does blow my cover, but no amount of off-beat travel guides can prepare you for the cultural differences. Being thrust into the heart of your new home is the only route in which to completely enlighten yourself about another culture. I thought I was faring relatively well my first few weeks in London—living in other cities had prepared me for public transport, harsh Midwestern weather hardened me for the moderate winters, and I was reveling in the chic street style of the natives. I was existing in a bubble of overconfidence, but one ride on the Tube, London’s underground public transport, successfully burst my illusion.

A girl about my age was completely owning her tasteful grunge outfit (a la Kate Moss) and I felt inclined to pay her a compliment—wrong move. The look she gave me conveyed that she was assessing whether I had escaped from a psych ward or taken some bizarre street drugs. First lesson in British culture, people tend to be hesitant to interact with total strangers. Saying “hello” to passerby on the street and striking up conversation is a fairly American tendency. My other, more poignant lesson, was that at some point, I had to come to terms with the fact that I was a foreigner—and that’s not a bad thing.

Since embracing my tourist status, I have learned that as much as I am going to get out of this city, this country, and these people, I have to give as well. London is a global city, and people are enthusiastic to learn about other cultures (well, maybe not on the Tube), and understand their own from an outside perspective.

Sidebar: to the Swedish girl who asked me if my high school experience was “just like movie ‘American Pie’”…not exactly. The best conversations I’ve had thus far have been rooted in comparing and contrasting differing perspectives, norms, and lifestyles. Conversations I would have deprived myself of had I continuously made efforts to blend in. Embracing your own culture and simultaneously appreciating another is not only plausible, but necessary and rewarding. So in short, be the tourist. And probably invest in a map.

Abbey Hudetz - Redefining herself through a global experience

Argentina Six Months On

Vincent Halloran - Buenos Aires

Beagle Channel

The Beagle Channel, a body of water connecting the Atlantic and Pacific at the bottom of the world in Tierra del Fuego.

I find myself sitting down to write this post on my final afternoon in Buenos Aires, a place that has become my home over the last six months. The moment is bittersweet; I am excited to return home to see family and friends for the Christmas holiday but I will undoubtedly miss the life I have led in this bustling, often confusing, and cosmopolitan city. I will miss Susy, my host here in the neighborhood of Palermo who has so generously welcomed me into her home, and especially her cooking. I will also certainly find myself longing for $7 steaks and $2 bottles of Malbec, though my reunion with Hoosier cooking may distract me from this. Most of all I will miss the friends I have made from across the United States during the semester who have accompanied me through this wild ride. Though I may miss many things about Argentina, I think many things I have learned here are likely to stay with me.

Argentina, in ways I likely will not even realize for months, has left its mark on me. Most of all, I find my political perceptions profoundly affected by the firsthand experience I have had in witnessing Argentine elections. I arrived in Argentina an admittedly very liberal young man, drawn to leftist thought of all its varied stripes. However, in Argentina, particularly in the Peronist Argentina lead by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, I have seen the many downsides that progressive populism can bring. From mysterious killings of opponents, deep-rooted corruption and clientelism, and an economy choked by regulation, Argentina offered many examples of where my preferred form of government can go wrong. I have yet to draw ultimate conclusions from this exposure, I remain unsure of how many of these issues are isolated to Argentina and which may instead be attributed to larger flaws in left-leaning, assertive populism as a whole. Therefore, I remain a steadfast proponent of progressive change, but have gained a profound respect for Western mixed-market economics and the institutional limits which keep power in check in the United States.

I have always found myself drawn to politics at some fundamental level of my being, my preferred conversation topics always drifting towards the taboos of government or religion and the like, but as I have grown I have realized the importance of consensus above all else. Argentina’s aggressive zero-sum politics have left me convinced that the only way forward is through cooperation, through engaging diverse stakeholders to create policy that works for all, not just for some. I will take this valuable lesson with me for years to come, and if I am ever lucky enough to serve in public office I will strive to remember that it is practical results for constituents that matters above all else. Argentina is a nation defined by political uncertainty, of ebbs and flows that have dramatically altered its model of insertion in the world from decade to decade. As Argentina turns from leftist populism to right-leaning economic reform once again (with the newly floating peso surging and prices fluctuating wildly), I feel incredibly lucky to have been raised in a remarkably stable nation and feel naive to have taken it for granted for so long.

classic Argentine lunch

The classic Argentine lunch of milanesa completa, a pork tenderloin accompanied by two fried eggs with a side of fries (and, of course, it would not be Argentina without Quilmes).

 

subway stop

My Subte stop, Bulnes, which took me to school and across the city for many explorations.

There are other ways Argentina has impacted me as well, like forgetting that breakfast can be more than a medialuna (i.e. croissant) and coffee, or that coffee is more than just espresso. I will surely miss the simplicity of commuting by subway to class aboard the Subte D Line each day, especially midst Bloomington’s inevitable snows of January and February. It will be odd to not eat empanadas (meat-filled pockets of bread) or milanesa (sandwich very similar to pork tenderloins) almost everyday for lunch. Above all else, not being able to text the friends I have made here to go to some museum or sit in a park and relax will be especially difficult. Buenos Aires has been very good to me these past six months, for that, and my ever improving Spanish, I am grateful.

Vincent Halloran - analyzing Argentine political and economic models

Top End of the NT

Sarah Whaley

My last holiday before leaving Oceania was to the Top End of the NT. In other words, the northernmost segment of Northern Territory Australia. The Australia everyone thinks of when they think of the land down under: red dirt, termite mounds and crocodiles. Home of Crocodile Dundee and the land of two seasons, wet and dry.

bridge in woods

Northern Territory: It doesn’t get much more Crocodile Dundee than this.

July is in the midst of the dry season, meaning water levels are down, you’re less likely to stumble across crocodiles in your swimming hole and the heat isn’t humid and oppressive, at least on the coast. When I got off my red-eye flight at 1:25 a.m. I welcomed the change in temperature from chilly Adelaide. Finally I could wear all those summer clothes I’d brought to Australia, mid-winter.

I chose to not do the touristy thing in the NT and stay in website-recommended hotels. Instead I lived with friends from St Mark’s, Callan and Glen. I chose to let them show me the places they love rather than the Lonely Planet Top 10. I still ended up seeing half of the Top 10 and cramming several weeks’ worth of attractions into one.

My first three days were spent in Darwin, the largest city in the sparsely populated NT. I flew in on Territory Day, the anniversary of self-governance being handed down to the Territory by the Commonwealth Government. Its finale is known more commonly as Cracker Night because for one day only proud Territorians can purchase and set off fireworks (much to the dismay of volunteer firefighters). I watched fireworks spring forth from the beaches of Darwin’s many bays as my plane landed.

Over the next three days, Callan showed me many of the places I had seen by the light of the fireworks that first night. Casuarina beach and Callan’s personal favorite, East Point Reserve. During World War II, East Point served as a military base for the defense of Darwin and today you can explore the gun emplacements and tunnel entryways that remain. The reserve is also a favorite place for wildlife like wallabies and bush turkeys, which build nests of dirt and plant matter several times larger than themselves. They are best seen by biking the off-road trails in the early evening.

biking through the woods

My first experience off-road biking to see wallabies.

Callan and I ran down to the coast to watch the sunset every night in Darwin. The first night we watched from a lookout on our way to Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, a magical place that draws what seems like the entire city to the beach for exotic foods, artisan wares and variety performances. The advantage of markets in the NT weather is that they can be open regularly year-round. While tourists love the markets as much as the regulars, it’s fun to watch the regulars banter with the vendors they know so well.

Sunset.

First sunset in Darwin.

Crowd gathered around performer

A performer at Mindil Beach Sunset Markets.

My last full day in Darwin was the busiest, and also the 4th of July. Callan and I woke up early to drive to Kakadu National Park and take a jumping crocodile cruise on the Adelaide River. I never thought crocodiles would be so much scarier than sharks, but watching five meter male “salties” propel themselves out of the water towards a small clump of meat did the trick. The women who ran the cruise knew the crocodiles on that portion of the river well and had even named some of them, like Grover and Stumpy. They estimate for every crocodile you see above the muddy water, there are at least five others underwater nearby. We saw eight. In total, they estimate there could be anywhere from 2500 to 10,000 crocodiles in the Adelaide River alone and I will be the first to say I don’t want to find out. Some crazy tourists and Territorians with a death wish sometimes dare each other to swim across the river (at varying levels of intoxication) and it’s 50/50 whether they make it safely to the other side.

sitting on giant crocodile sculpture

Callan and I sit on a life-sized model of the largest croc ever caught in the Adelaide River.

crocodile leaping out of water for dangling meat

Grover, a 5 meter male “saltie,” leaps for buffalo meat.

After the cruise we headed to Berry Springs to swim. After watching crocodiles leap from water all morning, I wasn’t too keen on swimming, but the springs were wonderful. Looking at the water you’d think it was chlorinated because it’s so clear and beautiful. You can swim all the way from the bottom spring to the little falls at the top, which Callan and I did in spite of the current and the rocky shallow bits. It’s the ultimate natural swimming spot and I felt like a part of the nature around me as birds flitted in and out of the palms.

Group swimming by small falls

The small falls at the top of Berry Springs.

We wrapped up the 4th of July with a party and I met some of Callan’s Darwin friends. We went out on the town and even though Callan and I were exhausted when we returned to his home, we lit up some sparklers he’d saved for me so I could celebrate Independence Day the American way. He lit sparklers as well and listened to my rendition of “America the Beautiful,” probably one of the only Aussies to celebrate the American 4th.

Sarah with sparklers

Celebrating Independence Day while half a world away.

The next day my friend Glen and his brother David picked me up and we drove to Katherine. There I stayed with Glen’s family for a couple days, eating meals under the overhangs of the industrial shed turned home they live in. Like how the Weasley’s call their home “The Burrow” in Harry Potter, Glen’s family calls their home “The Shed.” While the rooms are sealed from wildlife entering them, the four main doors to the central living area remain open. They shared stories of snakes slithering above the dining table on the rafters and hearing wallaby tails hit the concrete floor as they hop through at night. During breakfast the wallabies were still often hanging about waiting for carrots to be tossed to them, including a mama wallaby with a joey in her pouch.

Glen and I toured all of his favorite spots in Katherine from Knotts Crossing to the low-level bridge to the incredible Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park. Each place came with its own crocodile warnings, and Glen pointed out some crocodile traps along the river banks. People were still swimming or kayaking at each stop! Even Glen and I waded around in the water at low-level bridge. After spending hot days out in the Australian sun it was nice the relax back at The Shed with Glen’s family and friends. His mom invited some of her colleagues over the last night for dinner so I could ask them some questions about their Indigenous cultures. During some dizzying explanations of Aboriginal family relations, we enjoyed fresh fish and kangaroo with rice.

Sarah and Glen selfie

Glen and I at the low-level bridge.

Sarah on deck overlooking gorge.

Posing at a gorge in Nitmiluk National Park.

My last day in the NT, Glen and I took a Nissan Patrol through Litchfield National Park on the way back to Darwin. It had a snorkel on it, a feature of many of the off-road vehicles in the NT. When water levels raise during the wet season, some people who live out bush have to ford through water just to get home. We didn’t have to ford any water because it was the dry season, but we did pass meter sticks informing drivers of water depth. After a brief stop in Adelaide River for some deep-fried broccoli, chicken, cheese balls, Glen and I checked out bush fires that were still burning, termite mounds several times the height of a person and the monsoon forest surrounding Wangi Falls. The park was breathtakingly beautiful, but also breathtakingly hot. As we drove off-road through the red dirt I found myself secretly praying the car wouldn’t break down because other cars didn’t pass by often and all that could be seen to either side were heaps of shadeless trees and bush. Finally I was experiencing the Australia I’d always imagined. I fell in love with the topography and the red dirt that clung to my shoes and water bottle, but I still didn’t want to be stranded out in it with no phone signal to call for help.

Sarah next to giant vertical "mound"

Me in comparison to a cathedral termite mound in Litchfield National Park.

SUV on road

Our trusty Patrol out on the red dirt roads.

We made it safely to Darwin and I spent my final hours in the NT exploring caves along the seaside cliffs with Callan and having dinner at the sailing club with his parents beside yet another gorgeous sunset. Callan gave me a book on the Top End as a gift before sitting in the airport with me until 2:25 a.m. for my flight back to Adelaide. I didn’t want to leave and cried for both the last time I would see Callan and Glen before leaving Australia and for having to leave the warmth and sunsets of the NT. Adelaide is great, but in the span of one week Top End stole my heart. It turns out the Australia I love the best is the Australia everyone imagines. The Australia full of animals that can kill you and plants that provide no shade, but also the Australia of unsurpassable beauty. Callan said that’s great and all, but I have to come back and experience the wet season before I decide I want to move there. In the words of Barney Stinson, “Challenge accepted.”

Coastal Sunset

Can you blame me for wanting to move here?

View all posts by Sarah

Patience is a Virtue

Emma Storen - Cape Town

If there is anything I have come to truly understand during my pre-departure process it is the commonly used statement “patience is a virtue.” Although my excitement for my semester in Cape Town, South Africa has been continuously growing, so have the pre-departure tasks and responsibilities. My patience has been continuously tested over the past few months through the process of obtaining my student visa, finalizing travel details, and planning for my actual time abroad.

Due to the length of my stay in South Africa I was required to obtain a student visa from the South African consulate in Chicago. There were about eleven documents that were required to obtain this visa. Although I began collecting these documents in mid-April, I ran into a few set backs and did not receive the visa until three days before my anticipated departure. The largest lessons I took away from this experience are to begin obtaining the required documents as soon as possible and to diligently track their progress (whether you are waiting for your background check, a medical report, or your passport with the attached visa).

Aside from the stress of obtaining the proper documentation for my stay, securing my travel plans also tested my patience. As can be imagined, the flights to South Africa are very long. Most travel days span between 36 and 48 hours. I was lucky enough to find an efficient set of flights with a total travel time of only 28 hours. However, three days before departure this trip was moved back an entire day making me arrive in Cape Town a day later than required by the program provider, CIEE. I rebooked my flight and arrived at the airport on the scheduled departure date. Only an hour before my scheduled departure time we were notified that the plane had been delayed and I was going to miss my connection. The airline had no choice but to rebook me. Normally, this situation would have caused me major anxiety due to my routine and detail orientated personality. However I took this situation as part of my experience and remained calm. My collected reaction to this stressful situation displayed to me the growth I have already had through this experience.

I am now more excited than ever to begin my semester in Cape Town! Many aspects of my stay are still unknown but again I have tried to frame this normally stressful aspect as a positive part of the study abroad experience.

Emma Storen - exploring the history and economy of Africa

6 Travel Tips for Europe

Erik Trautman

I’m often asked to compare the lifestyle in Europe to that in that in the United States and I constantly grant Europe points for it’s transportation services, however, they can throw a first time user for a loop. After a frantic scramble between trains to get my family to the Liguria coast, I’ve got the hang of traveling on trains. After one plane trip to Seville and another to Dublin, I’ve got planes figured out, and after eleven-hours of bobbing around on a bus with friends like a bunch apples in a tub as we careened through the French Alps on the road to Grenoble, I have a grasp on bus travel. Below are six tips that will help you avoid some of the speed bumps I hit along the way.

  1. Plan ahead! Trains are the most comfortable way to travel but if you don’t book them far ahead of time your wallet will be empty by the time you arrive at your destination. Also, validate your tickets on regional trains and check for connections. I made the mistake of neglecting these last two things and paid a hefty fine. Furthermore, often you’re destination won’t appear on the screen because they only list the final destination of the train, check for the train number instead.
  2. If that ship has sailed, BlaBla Car is a good ride-sharing service that is largely available in Europe. Basically, you create a profile and search for your destination. If a driver with the same destination has open seats, you can send them a message requesting the spot. I was tentative at first but most drivers have past reviews and a rating. I’ve used the service to go to from Bologna to Milan for twelve euros as well as the return to Bologna for the same price and from Bologna to Turin for twenty.
  3. If you’re traveling by plane Ryanair is a good low-cost airline. Travel light because your first bag is free but if it doesn’t fit the measures (roughly a stuffed to the brim backpack) you’ll be hit with a baggage fee. Be warned that the flights are cheap because it’s a minimal airline; the seat aren’t comfortable and don’t recline.
  4. If Ryanair doesn’t reach your destination, Skyscanner will find the most affordable airline, it found me a flight for about half the price of Expedia’s best suggestion.
  5. As for places to stay, make friends with Erasmus students. Erasmus is like overseas studies, however, Erasmus is only for European students. The word is often misused to describe any foreign student, but Erasmus students come from all over Europe so they often have connections in popular destinations and they make great travel buddies.
  6. If you can’t find a buddy to stay with, AirB&B and Couch Surfing are good alternatives. Although I have never personally used their services, they both come highly recommended. Hopefully it goes without saying, use caution and your best intuition with couch surfing.

Although travel can be chaotic, after a few trips you’ll surely get the hang of it, and in the end it’s well worth the hassle. Below are a few photos of where my trips have taken me. Safe travels, or as they say in Italian, “Buon Viaggio!

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View all posts by Erik

Exhaustion and Refreshment

Sarah Whaley

Last week was the end of the honeymoon phase of my exchange program in Adelaide. Before last week, my days consisted of shopping, exploring and partying in the city. It felt more like a holiday (vacation) than a study experience. Then, classes began at Uni and I have to admit I felt a bit shell-shocked. I hadn’t done anything related to school since December. I’d had no academic readings to complete, no lectures to attend and no online content to continuously check (except for Facebook, of course).  I felt assaulted by the sudden amount of work and embarrassed by the inadequacy of my preparations and organization.

150317a

Braving a smile for the first day of Uni.

 

Then, after making it reasonably successfully through the first two days of classes, I panicked and left class early on Wednesday. I left class early because the bites I’d woken up with on my legs that morning and the day before could no longer be ignored. My worst nightmare about Australia was unfolding before me: mysterious bites from an unknown creature that appeared red, angry and swollen. One bite had a red tail trailing off to one side. I made essentially the worst decision I could have made and Googled the bites during class. Top results were 1) poisonous spiders and 2) infection. I immediately excused myself from the room and went in search of the nearest doctor.

insect bites on leg

Convinced death from bites is imminent.

University of Adelaide is a smaller university than IU, so you’d think they would have walk-in doctors appointments, but that turned out not to be the case. The lady behind the counter wouldn’t even look at my bites, and her advice was to call the next day a 9 a.m. to see if there had been any appointment cancellations. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to see me until Monday. Next I tried the Dean at my residence, St Mark’s College. Her advice was to see one of the sixth year medical students at the college, but he was nowhere to be found. So I asked my friend Daniel to walk with me up the street into North Adelaide to find a chemist (pharmacist).

The chemist was kind, but when she came around from behind the counter to look at my bites, all of her professionalism disappeared. She gasped and put a hand to her mouth, then brought it down to say, “I think you need to see a doctor.” Exhausted from my earlier attempts at finding a doctor, I fought the urge to cry as I asked where walk-in appointments might be available. She gave me the addresses of two places, both outside of walking distance from St Mark’s. When I left the shop, I finally burst into the sobs I’d been holding back. I had no car and felt intimidated by the public transportation. I wanted to give up and, more than anything, to call my parents. I couldn’t do the latter and Daniel wouldn’t let me do the former, so he found someone from the college to drive us to Prospect Medical Centre.

My walk-in consultation was free, but the downside was Daniel and I had to sit waiting for hours. When they called me back after the first hour, I was excited. Finally. But all that happened was a lady who didn’t appear to be a doctor took a look at my bites, confirmed how terrible they looked and told me she’d put me on the waiting list for a walk-in appointment. I sat waiting for another hour and a half before seeing an actual doctor who told me the bites were likely from a mozzie (mosquito) and I was just having an exceptionally bad reaction to them. He prescribed me $45 worth of antibiotics, antihistamines and steroid cream.

Sarah and friend Daniel smiling

Daniel and I excited to be waiting for hours.

The next few days were hazy, both from the medication and a sudden onset of homesickness. I grew impatient with my friends in Adelaide and started intensely missing friends back home who had known me for longer than three weeks. I was easily irritable and moody and left two parties without saying goodbyes. One night I sat outside alone for more than two hours watching a light show on the theater that was part of the Adelaide Festival. When I looked up to see the stars and the moon glowing brightly in the sky, I was suddenly struck by the fact no one in Indiana could share the view with me because it was daytime there. I felt immediately far away and incredibly alone.

patterned light splashing on rooftop

Light show on the Adelaide Festival Centre.

Saturday night after leaving the second party of the weekend, I messaged my friend Ameen to tell him what a terrible time I was having. He suggested I make a trip out into the Adelaide suburbs to see him and his roommate, Ahmed. It was quieter there, he said, and I would enjoy the bus ride on the O-Bahn, a special track for buses leading from Adelaide to Tea Tree Gully. I hesitated once again out of fear of public transportation, but decided I needed to grow up and take a risk. After all, my own attempts at lifting my mood had been rather fruitless.

Sunday evening I hopped on a bus and took the O-Bahn out to see Ameen and Ahmed. It was a wonderful one-night break from the city. We took it easy, watching Australian comedians on YouTube and shows on TV. Then in the morning I woke up to the sound of birds and even the sound of a short rain. The rain cleared and we took a walk through the suburbs to grab some lunch. My spirits rose from the darkest of places to soaring heights. The beauty of the suburbs was consuming, with the hills so close by and the houses and fences a patchwork of reds, yellows and oranges. As Ameen cleaned the kitchen and I waited to catch a bus back into the city, I breathed in the fresh air coming from the open window and felt the most relaxed I’d been since my arrival in Australia. The suburbs of Adelaide felt like home.

The beautiful suburbs outside of Adelaide felt like home.

The beautiful suburbs outside of Adelaide felt like home.

I carried my refreshed mind and heart back into the city and everything felt lighter. The weather was perfect and I wandered slowly through Rundle Mall and across the River Torrens back to St Mark’s. I finished the last of my medication after dinner and saw that the marks from my bites were disappearing. I went and saw my second show at the Adelaide Fringe Festival that night and took a new path home to see all the lights and special art displays of Blinc (part of the Adelaide Festival) along the river.

a Blinc installation on the River Torrens

One of the Blinc installations on the River Torrens.

Though the second week of classes has now begun and I’m already playing catch-up on readings, I’m no longer feeling homesick and I feel more equipped for what’s yet to come this semester. Now I know the next time I feel like giving up I just have to keep going. And even though I’ve only known my friends here for three weeks, I can trust they’ll always be there to lift me up when I’m feeling down.

Sarah with friend Ameen

Ameen and I relaxing on the Barr Smith Lawns at Uni.

View all posts by Sarah

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