The Two-Step Program

Finally, this is the last post. I’ve boarded my plane, reached my destination of home, and am back in the United States. My study abroad is over. But really, it doesn’t feel like it is. I think one of the hardest parts about studying abroad really is the end; the part where you leave the country you spent a significant portion of your life in. Once you get home, it hits you that you’ve just left the country, school, and friends you had just started calling your own. You start to realize that you really were in another country (in this case, halfway around the world) and going back to visit just isn’t something our current level of human technology makes simple or cheap.

Ironically enough, going home can make you feel…well, homesick. The thing about studying abroad is that no matter where you go, you throw yourself into a completely new environment. You toss away any foundation of who you are or friends you have or what you know and get to find out who you are without everything else you’re so used to identifying you. You throw away all the labels and, regardless of your experience, you realize that it’s something you’ll never forget.

I finally understand how those people from “Lost” felt. Even though they were almost murdered countless times in the most incredulous ways, they would always feel a connection to that insane place they spent a portion of their lives in. Now, I’m not saying that my experience in Australia was equal to that of being on a deserted island. But even looking back at those  low points (few and far between), I can still laugh, smile and feel some sense of wistfulness.

With that said, I have made my own patented guide to cope with returning.

Dear (insert name of study abroad student here),

(Mike), you have just returned from your study abroad experience. At times, you may feel it will be hard to cope. Therefore, someone has composed this multi-step guide for your benefit.

1. Although modern technology has yet to provide us with teleportation devices, molecular destabilizers, etc., it has provided us with Facebook and Skype. It makes keeping in touch much simpler. And though you may want to cut off your entire trip’s existence altogether to make it easier on yourself, your trip happened, so deal with it and cherish it. Miss your friends and keep in touch — it’s normal. And didn’t you make friends who are back in America now, too? Keep in touch with them as well; you can reminisce together.

2.  Refer to step 1.

With this guide, my study abroad trip really does come to an end. However, the experience really never does quite end.

P.S. Here’s that other guide I promised you– Mike’s Guide to Australian Phrases:

Arvo – Afternoon
Mate 1: Sorry mate, I don’t do the whole arvo tea thing.
Oi: An expression or interjection similar to that of “yo” or “Hey you”
Mate 1: Oi! Get over here mate, the footie game’s about to start!
Cheers
– much like the cheers said at a toast, but can also be used as a response to an act of kindness you have received.
Mate 1: I’ll get the door, mate
Mate 2: Ah, cheers, mate
Mate: A friend or acquaintance
Barrack: To cheer or support, especially an AFL Team
Mate 1: Hey mate, who do ya barrack for?
Mate 2: I barrack for the Essendon Bombers of course!
AFL: abbreviation used to refer to the Australian Football League where Australian Rules football is played
Footie: Another abbreviation used to refer to Australian rules football
Mark: A catch, used especially in AFL
Mate 1: If he had made that last mark, he would have been close enough to score and win the game!
Speckie: A spectacular mark in AFL
Mate 1: Did you see that speckie?! He got on that other bloke’s shoulders to mark that!
Bloke: another term for a man, similar usage to dude
Sheila:  Another term for a girl or a woman
Snags: another name for sausages
Get on ye mate: an expression used to express a job well done to another person
Mate 1: I finally did it! I spoke to that Shelia I’d been telling you about!
Mate 2: Ey! Get on ye mate!
No worries: an expression similar to that of “not a problem”
Mate 1: I’ll get the door mate
Mate 2: Ah, cheers mate
Mate 1: No worries
Thongs: flip flops
Troll: a prank or a joke
Zed: The letter z

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