Returning Home from Sydney

By Kalei Munsell, Foster Undergraduate who last year participated in an exchange with the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia

I’ve been home for exactly a month, and it hasn’t really hit me that my big adventure is over. The last year that I spent fantasizing about my time abroad in Australia, I never imagined how hard it would be to say goodbye. Sydney had become my home, and my friends had become family. It’s funny to think how scared and sad I was on my first day in Australia. I had just landed in a foreign country where I knew no one, and I knew nothing about where I was going. I was the first one to check in to my apartment, so there were no other students to meet, and I had to figure out the basics on my own. I was so homesick that first day, I called my parents and cried worrying that study abroad wasn’t for me. The next day, I found other exchange students in the same position as me through the USyd Facebook group, and I met up with them to do some classic Sydney tourist sightseeing—and my adventure began.

The things I learned throughout my time at the University of Sydney go beyond my international business and consumer behavior lectures. I have become a much more independent and open-minded person. Living abroad challenged me to solve problems on my own, and opened doors to opportunities I never thought possible. I lived in an apartment building filled with students from across the world, and learned about their cultures and beliefs.

Now that I’m back in Seattle, I have a newfound desire to explore. I’m not so easily satisfied by my everyday routine, and I think this is something that will keep rewarding me for the rest of my life. While I’m heartbroken that my time abroad is over, I can’t wait for the next adventure.