So I have started writing this blog halfway through my year abroad in Melbourne Australia, but I would like to share my thoughts and experiences of a few months back when I was preparing to leave and how it all felt arriving half way across the world for a year.
I was surprisingly not nervous much at all just before leaving! I couldn’t imagine how it would feel not to come home for a year so it just didn’t feel real. At one of the compulsory meetings in Sheffield we were able to meet the other people going to the same exchange university, and this is where I met some people who I became very good friends with – Matt and Lewis. Even though we didn’t know each other, myself and Matt decided to book the same flight so we had someone to travel with because otherwise it would have been a very daunting 27 hour plane ride! We ended up getting along really well and have spent a lot of our time here together.
We arrived in Melbourne around 9pm on a Saturday night in mid July and this is when I first started feeling nervous. We got picked up from the airport and taken to our uni halls where we would be staying and this is where I first felt quite apprehensive. It definitely started to feel real now. But luckily jet lag meant sleeping wasn’t a problem.
The first few weeks involved a lot of orientation activities and finding our feet. There’s a lot more to think about than you realise. We had to sort out a bank account, sim cards, trip to IKEA for all those saucepans that we couldn’t bring in our suitcase, public transport, unpacking and so much more. This was actually quite exciting and it made a lot easier that Matt and I had each other to help settle in and not feel so daunted. The university halls were full of English exchange students so you’re never too far away from home really!
Unfortunately Monash uni is quite far away from the city, so we were there a few weeks before we actually had the chance to go visit. It was quite an amazing sight actually, the scale of the place is just so much greater than anywhere I’ve been in England. It made Sheffield look like a little town rather than one of the main cities in England!
Even though there was a lot of stress and uncertainty at the start, it does all work out as long as you embrace the experience. Looking back, the first few weeks were probably some of my favourite because of the excitement of being dropped somewhere completely new and getting ready to call it home.