Living abroad has opened a world of opportunity to me that I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. Opportunities such as meeting people from all over world, learning about new cultures, learning new daily life routines and understanding the fundamentals of supporting yourself in a foreign country. But not only does living abroad open you up to new possibilities, it allows you to grow a newfound appreciation for your homeland.
Before I left to study in the UK for six months, I was itching to leave Australia and didn’t think twice about the country I was leaving. To me, Australia had always been home, but I always saw it as just the country I was born into. It wasn’t until I spent a sufficient amount of time in England that I began to realise that Australia is a tropical, foreign, breathtaking and bucket-list destination to absolutely every single person I met. If someone asks me where I am from and I say Australia, their eyes widen and they immediately start talking about the weather: “It must be an adjustment for you then, eh?”
Travelling abroad before, I never missed Australia, and I don’t miss it now. I have, however, gained a newfound appreciation for it, an appreciation that I would possibly never had gained unless I lived abroad. When I find myself in conversations with people from Canada, America, England and Europe they admire my backyard and my way of life, a way of life that I took for granted when I was home, and a way of life that I will never take for granted again. They comment on the surrounding ocean and how it outlines the country, they comment on the hot weather and long days, they mention Australian animals like koalas and kookaburras, and they admire our abundance of fruit. I suppose I always knew these things, and I always knew how lucky Australia really is, but never fully until now.
It wasn’t until I spent a sufficient amount of time in England that I began to realise that Australia is a tropical, foreign, breathtaking and bucket-list destination to absolutely every single person I met.
Since I was young I had always wanted to live in London. I wanted to spend my long weekends abroad in new European countries. It seemed like the perfect lifestyle for me, to live in one of the world’s greatest cities and to explore Europe whenever I felt like it. I used to get anxious if I thought I wouldn’t have the chance to live there one day. I loved the idea of taking the tube to work, the idea of walking past iconic buildings like Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abby whenever I pleased. Now, I see myself staying put in Australia more and more. If I had been asked five or even one year ago if I would settle in Australia, I would have said no. I was ignorant to my luck and distracted by country’s geographical isolation. I hated that Australia is so isolated and whenever I wanted to travel I had to pay for expensive air tickets, on seemingly endless plane journeys. Then I realised, the isolation isn’t so bad! The isolation means peace and seclusion.
Living abroad I have gained a newfound appreciation not just for my country, but for the little things. Like Vegemite, the scorching hot weather and how tourists always ask “How can you live in this heat?!” Everyday things like exquisite sunsets, random bursts of sun showers and learning how to deal with snakes, spiders and millions of insects that others would squeal about. As much as the idea of escaping and living somewhere foreign is something I will always think about, Australia is starting to look like my favourite place in the world.
How Study in the UK Helped Me Value Australia