G’Day Mates! My name is Garrett Ormond. I am a Junior Mechanical Engineering Student at North Carolina A&T State University and I studied abroad in the land down under, Australia (Spring 2016).
Australia, the Outback, is a beautiful, breathtaking country that I had the opportunity to wake up to every day. I was nervous when I landed in Australia since this was my first time going out of the country, but I was filled with so much excitement and adventure. Sydney, Australia was never on my radar to start with at all. I was planning on going somewhere else, such as China or Japan, but God had a plan for me and I thank Him for that.
Australia is a country that is surprisingly very diverse, which is amazing. People from all over the world are there, bringing their own languages, ideals and beliefs. I could not fathom the experience I was going to have, meeting so many people that became my friends and family for the next six months. Being in Sydney made me feel like I finally found a place where I belonged. Now l long for the things that I miss so much: the beaches, the adventures, the getaways, going downtown, the opera house, the Botanic Gardens, hiking, epic conversations with my mates and all the amazing people that became my family, the fashion, the food, and (especially) the warm weather. It was truly an experience of a lifetime.
This trip changed my life and helped me grow as a person. Being able to meet and grow with people who were in the same situation as me was truly a blessing. Just like me, they were strangers in a different country, but I became closer to them than with people back in the States. The experiences, travels, and adventures that my friends and I went on are something I, nor they, will never forget. Now I can go anywhere in the world and have a place to stay, due to all the international friends I made.
When I came back to the States I definitely came back a changed person, not in outer appearance, but in mind. The way I think is now different, the way I perceive people is different, the dreams that I have are slightly changed, and I have gained new things that are now important to me. Once you have gone overseas and come back, it seems like you have learned a foreign language that no one around you speaks, unless they were there with you or have experienced the same thing.
That is why once you have traveled for the first time all you want to do is leave again. It’s called a travel bug (which I definitely have), but it’s really an effort to return to a place where you are surrounded by people who speak the same language as you. Not English, Spanish, German, French, Mandarin or Portuguese, but the language where others know what it’s like to leave, change, grow, experience, learn, and then go home and feel more lost in your hometown or university than you did in the most foreign place you visited.
This is the most thrilling and hardest part about traveling, and it’s the very reason why I will run away again.