I knew I wanted to study abroad in college, but I always figured I would go somewhere in Europe. Not Australia.
When I think about Australia, I think about Steve Irwin and that one Nickelodeon show about mermaids.
Australia is big and far and full of spiders, and if you asked me what made me want to go there, I don’t know if I could give you a coherent answer.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to go abroad and experience a different culture. But this is new terrain.
Let’s not pretend I’m anything less than terrified.
There are plenty of things to be freaked out about.
I have never truly traveled by myself.
I have never been on a 17-hour flight.
Most importantly, I have never been this far away from home for this long. As a Chapel Hill native, I hate to think of entire seasons passing in my hometown without my being there to see them.
I hate that I’m missing basketball and I hate that I’m missing Dance Marathon and I hate that I’m missing every other wonderful thing that comes with spring semester at UNC.
That being said, there is another, considerably longer, list of things I am excited for in the coming months.
I get to spend five months traveling and I get to meet new people and I get to write about it.
There will definitely be things I miss about home, but the Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef and everything else that Australia has to offer will be there to welcome me to a new country 17 hours outside of my comfort zone.
Even if I wind up hating every single thing about Australia, my Instagram is going to be amazing.
So here we are — nervous, excited and a little hungry.
I don’t know what to expect, but I am constantly looking for good stories and I think this semester will give me enough for a lifetime.