Travel Uni Life

My journey back to Queensland

Hi I’m Lauren,

During the last two years I have been studying my Master of Global Development remotely from my hometown in Los Angeles. I’ve just arrived back in Queensland, and am looking forward to completing my studies and graduating from Griffith in person this December! 

It’s been a bit under a month since returning to Australia from the United States and WOW, it has been packed! The long travel time was nothing new, just something I hadn’t experienced in a while.


All packed for my arrival in Australia.


Arriving at LAX at 4:30am with two suitcases, a duffle bag, and a backpack, my life was stuffed to the brim in those bags. After a teary-eyed ’see you later’ to my dad (I said bye to the rest of my family the day before), TSA and then wandering to my gate began.

The flight to Honolulu was packed and a group of us had to be rushed through the Honolulu airport due to a short layover, before our flight to Sydney. That flight was EMPTY! I had my own row to sleep on!

As we were descending into rainy Sydney, I saw the Opera House out the window. Tears filled my eyes and I sobbed, knowing this two-plus year dream was finally becoming a reality.


Seeing the Sydney Opera House from the plane window.


With an overnight layover in Sydney, I got to meet my friend Lauren and crash at hers for a brief 5 hours before taking the final flight to Brisbane. The flight was quick and again on decent, I started sobbing, this time practically uncontrollably.


Emotional as we landed in Brisbane.


From stepping off the plane, to getting my bags, to seeing a dear friend, tears flowed. It was hard to believe and start processing that I had indeed come back. Over two years of waiting, unknowing when I’d come back, it finally happened!

In the days that followed, I saw friends that I hadn’t seen in years, settled into my apartment, and even started courses and my internship at the university with Social Marketing at Griffith (SM@G). It has been a surreal experience and I’m still pinching myself – I can’t fully believe I’m back!


Catching up with friends in Brisbane.


I spent one day wandering the City Botanic Gardens in the Brisbane CBD, one of the first places I ever went when I moved here in 2019. Wandering those gardens made it real and it felt in that moment, everything finally came together. I had finally returned to where I was meant to be.

From the start, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster. Saying farewell to friends and family on the other side of the Pacific to returning to start the life I have had on pause for two years now. I’m the happiest I’ve been in ages, yet I am still processing a lot. From trying to remember why places look familiar, to who I was with, I’ve been able to remember more, but with that comes some more emotions. It’s like this brain fog I’ve had for two years is slowly disappearing, and it’s a freeing feeling.

It has been an intense month being back. With classes starting, my plan for the next few months is to just focus on them and begin my thesis, then eventually find work.

I worked so hard during the almost two years at home that I deserve to just focus on my studies now!


Chat soon,



Read my recent blog My real-world experience with CORE Response.

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