“Nothing new grows in the comfort zone”

Before I went to university, I felt like I wasn’t cut out to be a student, I wasn’t confident enough, and I wasn’t smart enough. But I decided I was going to break out of my comfort zone and go to uni- and I’m so glad I did!

The same thoughts echoed in my head when I was planning on studying abroad. This made me think, if I did it once, I can do it again!

So when it came to studying abroad, I was back and forth with the idea for months, almost a year actually. One part of me was craving adventure and change, and the other clinging on to the comfort of home and my family.

However, my excitement and curiosity for something new outweighed my fear of missing home. After all, home will still be there when I get back. However, the opportunity of being in another country for a few months, as a student, was a once in a life-time experience.

I have been here in Australia for 11 weeks exactly today and I go home in 9 weeks tomorrow.

Time really does fly. I am excited to go home, but at the same time I don’t want to ever leave.

Being here has taught me SO much. I’ve learnt to be myself more. Being in a totally different environment like this has made me realise things I never could before. I feel more independent and I genuinely see the world differently (I know this must sound cheesy, but it’s honest). 

I’ve seen and done some unforgettable things so far, that I never thought I would.

So, if you’re thinking of studying abroad, I say do it.

If you want to do it, and it works for you financially and educationally, why not?

Life is short- make the most of it.

 

 

 

 

 

10 Signs you know Australia too well

So I’ve been here for over two months now, and I’m starting to feel like a proper local Queenslander! It’s amazing how different Oz is to the UK, even though England is it’s ‘motherland’, if you like. From its exotic wildlife, to its stunning sites and beaches, Australia really has taken my heart.

Here are my top 10 signs I’ve been here too long…

  1. I’m used to hearing ‘bloody’ this and ‘bloody’ that- I’m from Yorkshire, so the hearing the term ‘bloodyhell’ doesn’t come as a surprise to me, but the Aussies use it an awful lot!
  2. I HATE Translink- it’s the most irritating form of public transport I’ve ever had to use.
  3. Instead of ‘thanks’, I’m pretty much always saying ‘cheers’, adding in ‘mate’ every now and then.
  4. I have learnt to love a good old ‘goon bag’.
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    My lovely friend Jenna with a goon bag (a bag of cheap wine in a box)
  5. I’m used to nowhere having bloody WIFI.
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    A rather true but irritating sign my friend Allie snapped while we were in Alice Springs
  6. A koala is not a bear.
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    A cute little fella I saw at the Koala Bear Sanctuary in Brisbane
  7. ‘Just down the road’ isn’t actually just down the road- it’s miles away.
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    A nice pic I took whilst we were driving on the Great Ocean Road in Melbourne
  8. I’ve eaten so many TimTams I can’t bear the sight of them anymore.
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    My once fave flavour of TimTams until I got sick of them!
  9. I’ve accepted the fact Australia is so much more expensive than home and given up complaining about it.
  10. I know I’m being annoying when me and my friends want to pay separately when we eat out- it’s such a big deal for most places here.

I hope these signs made you laugh! If you ever come to Australia or already have been, you will know EXACTLY what I mean!

Home-Sweet-Homesickness

Moving away from home for a few months sounds terrifying, yet exciting. Many peoples’ fear of studying abroad is leaving their loved ones, friends, and mostly- their pets.

And I’ll be honest, I felt the same.

Before leaving rainy England, as much as I was thrilled to go and live the dream down-under, I was dreading being away from everything I love for five months.

I remember parting from my family and my boyfriend, just before entering security at Manchester Airport, and being a blubbering mess.

I could barely breathe as I handed my passport over to one of the airport staff.

My mouth was dry, and my face wet with tears.

As I waved goodbye to my family on the other side of security, I thought, “come on Xanthe get yourself together”.

All the time I spent convincing my parents I should study abroad, carefully planning it out and filling in paperwork were not going to be for me to feel sad- not one bit.

I fixed myself up, and proceeded through security, and eventually, onto the plane.

We’ll skip talking about the twenty-three-hour flight to Brisbane- it gets a bit boring. Let’s jump to me arriving to my accommodation two days later (it was actually only 23 hours travelling but because of the time difference I arrived two days later).

For the first few days, I felt confused and out of place, occasionally crying.

I slept quite a lot too, probably because of the jetlag and the fact that sleeping let my brain rest from feeling weird.

This does sound quite depressing; however, I must add this bamboozled feeling was only very brief.

I can honestly say, within five days or so I was feeling a million times better.

I was so shocked with how good I felt.

Within a short space of time, I was out and about with my roommates who I became good friends with, exploring what South Bank had to offer.

All my worries kind of melted away, I enjoyed not knowing what was round the corner (literally and metaphorically)- that’s the best part.

So, here’s the helpful part- I FEARED homesickness, more than I was actually homesick.

And the chances are, it will be the same for you too.

It’s just the fear of change, the fear of not knowing what’s next.

Don’t get me wrong, it might take a few days or a week or so to get over that initial feeling- but have patience, because you will.

Of course, you will miss home, no doubt about it.

You’ll miss the little things, but just remember this is a once in a lifetime experience, you probably won’t get again.

So take advantage of the freedom without worrying about home, because home will still be there when you get back and all those little things, will be right where you left them.

Don’t doubt your adaptability- you will be very surprised at what you can do.

 

 

 

 

Public Transport in Queensland Explained

BusGetting to grips with public transport can be confusing at the best of times, even more so when you’re in an unfamiliar place- Australia’s transport system is no exception.

However, if you’re from London or ever travelled in London, this should make a little more sense.

Like the pre-paid ‘Oyster’ card in London, Queensland has the same thing and it’s called a ‘Go Card’.

It’s a good idea to get your mits on one of these cards as soon as you arrive, and start saving!

Being a student, you’re entitled to concession prices, which should be 50% cheaper than adult fares. However, this isn’t always the case- me and my friends have sometimes been charged completely different prices for the exact same journey which us nor Translink can understand why.

As soon as you get a student card from your university, you can apply online for cheaper fares on the Translink website.

Once you have a Go Card, you’re ready to go

You simply ‘tap on’ and ‘tap off’ the train, ferry or bus on using a scanner on board or outside the train station.

TIP: Don’t forget to tap on and off every time, if you don’t you can get charged so watch out for that, because it’s really annoying when you do.

Like most public transport, there is a journey planner service available on their website and app, so you can plan how to get from A to B.

Or, if you’re like me and don’t have enough memory in your phone for any more apps, you can ‘Google-maps’ it, which is just as easy.

I hope this is helpful- it’s always handy to know about the transport in your city to help you arrange travelling and those beach trips you definitely won’t skip class to go on…

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A nice photo at Snapper Rocks 🙂