1. Do something that scares you.
They say that college is the time to experiment and try new things. Yet all too often students go abroad in search for adventure and excitement and all too often they find their new selves tethered to their old selves, handicapping their own chances of finding something new. Therefore, one of the best ways to enable your acclimation to the unfamiliar culture and facilitate your transition is to simply get out there and take a risk – do something that scares you.
During the weeks leading up to my departure, my dad seemed to make it his mission to find every article regarding why not to move to Australia and send it to me. For weeks I feared the idea of surrendering my life to a shark or stray crocodile (because crocodiles are notorious for strolling casually through the streets of Sydney…*eye roll*) or some kind of treacherous insect found in the rainforest.
It didn’t strike me until I was actually in Australia, on an excursion in Cairns, on the outskirts of a tropical rainforest that the subliminal fears that haunted me back home existed only in my head. And it was because of this realization that I renounced my fears, hopped in that World War II Army Duck and ventured through the rainforest with my peers, creating a memory I’ll never forget.
So go out there and take a risk. You may be surprised with the results.
2. Relinquish the fight against your inner tourist.
You’re in a new country. There are obviously things you’re dying to see here. No one will blame you if you whip out your camera and photograph everything you see. So just do it and be the tourist you know you are. YOLO, right?
3. Lose yourself in the city.
To justify my lack of sense of direction, I always say, “It’s not an adventure unless you get lost.” I think this statement particularly applies to being abroad. While it’s nice to participate in organized and structured walking tours that guide you through the city, you’ll never truly find the city until you look for it yourself. That being said, I strongly suggest taking a train into the city, turning your phone off for the day and wandering aimlessly through the streets.
I did this with a friend in Sydney; we started off in Darling Harbour and walked with no destination in mind until we somehow ended up at Circular Quay. Along the way, we stumbled along cute little cafés and restaurants that we never would have noticed with a tour group and a few parks with playgrounds, where our 19-year-old selves became a couple of nine-year-olds for the day. And by nightfall we had ended up outside the Sydney Opera House in earshot and eyesight of a Roxette concert, for which we gladly embraced our inner 80s teenage selves as we jammed to “It Must Have Been Love” since that’s obviously the only song we as teenagers in the 21st century knew.
So grab a friend, get lost for the day and just wait and see what you’ll discover!
Want to see more from Australia? Check out “Surfin’ Australia”