Chronicles of my adventure down under!


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Thursday, November 29

Saying Goodbye

I will be leaving Sydney two weeks from today- what a crazy 5 months it has been! The last couple of days and weeks I have had to say goodbye to all of my new friends here. When I first got to IH I thought oh my goodness, these people are so much younger than me! They are so immature! How in the world will I survive? But we have really gotten close over the last several months seeing each other every day and eating every meal together. It has been hard to say goodbye to them because I don't know when I'll see them next. Some of my American friends like Kerry and Melinda live in DC and Philly so I know I'll see them again soon. It will be much longer before I see people like Pinky and Saeed. But we are lucky it has gotten a lot easier to stay in touch with email, Skype and Facebook.

When I was initially researching Australia and doing study abroad I found this graph below that explains your adjustment abroad and at home. I was thinking about it the other day and I seriously cannot believe how accurante this thing is! A couple of my other friends here have agreed.

It starts out with the honeymoon period where everything is new and exciting, then you hit the culture shock. I found a thing online that said at this point you may be finding faults with your new surroundings and will be contacting family and friends at home more often. It said that "Bear in mind that you seem to reach out to them only during your low points so try to remember to call them when you’re feeling better so they won’t worry"- sound familiar? Hmm... let me think of how many of those phone calls I made!

I think I underestimated going through any of this because Australia is such a developed and advanced country- it's not like I was going to live in Zimbabwe or something. And also they speak English here, so surely it couldn't be that different! I am reading online tonight about cultural adjustment and these are some of the things that now I can relate to:
-Not getting innuendoes.
-Not understanding what people are saying even though they are speaking English.
-Thinking no one likes you.
-Ordering chips and getting fries.
Then you go into adjustment. "Recognize that you are making it through the storm, and revel your successes, new friendships, experiences, travel, etc.! Your survival seems assured!" and finally you reach acceptance where you are able to function in both environments.

I am hoping this graph also comes with an explanation about why you get really awful grades when studying abroad, haha. I studied a lot but still think my grades are probably going to be horrible. Part of that is because my exams in the first half of the semester were atrocious so it was hard to make it up in the end, and the other part is that grading in Australia is really different. Students here don't need to get good grades to get a good job- they just need to pass. So whereas most students in the US aim for an A or B, students here just aim to pass. As a result, the whole grading system is really different and I personally think impossible to adjust to when the US system is so ingrained in you. Or so this is what I'll be telling myself when the final marks are released ;) As long as I graduate next year, I'm not worried too much. In the meantime I'll be enjoying my last few weeks of Australian summertime!

1 comment:

David said...

Hey Sarah,

I didn't really know another way to contact you, but my name is David and I'm a first year grad student at GW looking to study in Australia from March-June. If you have time to contact me at I would really appreciate your advice on finding housing and other important information. Hope you had a great time in Australia