14 days

As the title indicates – I am in the homestretch. There are a few things I am feeling right now that I figured might be good to share.

Right now – I’m studying for my last final exam (biology, ugh) which is in a few days. I will be beyond relieved to have that be done and over with. Finals are finals no matter where you are. I think my over all experience regarding the university here has been good. I do not anticipate my final grades being anything too amazing unfortunately. I’ve never tested well. I am a bit worried about how the grades translate back over to New Paltz, and my GPA. I like it where it is currently haha.

Other than academically – I have not really done too much travelling or exploring in a while. I have been too busy studying, and I am running out of money rapidly in this expensive country. The last thing I did was go to a place called “Lakes Entrance” which was amazing. I went koala spotting and ran into this giant field of wild kangaroo – cautiously approached one and got growled at. It was exhilarating.

I was asked to fill out a study abroad survey yesterday by my adviser which triggered me to start reflecting about my time here. A lot of my responses were uneventful, and unenthusiastic. Don’t get me wrong – this experience has been one I will hold dear to me for the rest of my life, but I guess I have been a bit closed off for a lot of the time and therefore it probably definitely was not all it could have been, had I been more open and active. This is something I do even back home, and at New Paltz too. Upon coming here, I remember feeling very nervous that I would be too homesick to function while I was here. However, though I of course had moments of homesickness – it was not actually a huge issue. I was most generally focused on being here in the moment and whatever I was doing at the time. I didnt give myself much time to reflect on the concept of home being so far away etc.

With that being said – once I reached the one month away from going home mark a few weeks ago I started getting excited at the thought of it. Being reunited with everyone I love, and places I have missed. Food. FOOD. Now that the time is even closer and closer and closer as days pass.. my excitement is dwindling, and my anxiety is raising. I cant put words to why I could be “scared” to leave, or go home. The best I can do is to say that it’s not like I can just come back anytime I want.. it’s not a weekend trip or a quick getaway – its Australia. Travel 24+ hours to get here/ $2000 ticket, ¬†Australia. I know someday I’ll make it back here, but it’s sad to think how long it might be. I am honored to have lived an extraordinary life already before I’m even 21 years old. A life most people I know could only dream of, in many aspects.

Hypothetically even if I took nothing from my experience here in Oz and hated the entire thing and never wanted to come back again (which is all false) – I would still be able to say that during my 5 months here I learned more about myself then I probably could have in 5 years back home. The most important of which involving my independence. I thought I was independent before I’d come here – but I was so held back by fear of change. Being away from home, the people in my life, my comfort zone. Now I know I am able to live without those things for a while and still be a functioning happy human being. And I am a better me now for having learned that.

I will depart in 14 days from Melbourne International Airport and fly 15 long hours to LA and then eventually 9 more hours to JFK and then another hour to Syracuse where my family will await me. I am coping with the thought of having to cope when I get there, and having trouble doing so. I am worried for my future self a bit. I know some friends who have had a dark spot after returning from study abroad. I’ll get through though.

Lastly – I am less than excited about going back to being under the legal drinking age, and shitty american beer. VB 4 lyfe.

14 days.


My name is Mariah Munger and I am an Art Education major! I am spending the Spring 2015 semester abroad in Melbourne, Australia, and could not be more excited. I hope to explore, learn, and inspire others to take a big step into this amazing world we live in each day.

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