Australia, a continent and a giant country land in this world, providing high living standards to its residents. This is what I heard before coming to Australia. Every year, almost one million people visit Australia. Some go back, some stay for a while, while a few others commence their plans to settle down. What is so special about this country? It has been a year since I left my home country to come and live in Australia as a student. Sometimes, I ask myself questions, was my decision wise to come to Australia or should I have considered my other options like Canada or Germany or ….. In this blog post I hope to share my one year experience of life in Australia, to help my readers decide whether it was a sensible decision or not.
First of all, I am basically from northern India, in the State of Punjab. I did my graduation from there and then for further studies, I came to Griffith University in Australia. I first stepped on Australian land on 20 Feb 2015, time I suppose was 7:38PM. A friend came to receive me at the airport. We sat in the car but my eyes were wondering outside the window to see the beauty of the city of Brisbane. We went home, had dinner and called my parents to let them know that I arrived safely. My friends, where I was staying, they told me to get some rest, must be tired from the long flight. But the truth is I was not. I just had too many questions in my mind without knowing whom to ask? At about 2:00 AM, I was still awake perhaps due to jet lag or home sickness. Truly at that time, I was just disappointed about spending between 3 to 4 months of restless visa processing procedures just to get here. A city, which seems the same as Chandigarh, Capital of Punjab except with high rise buildings but that’s a subject for another day.
My first day at Griffith University was the first day of the famous Orientation week commonly known as O’Week. It was the greatest experience of my life. There were very many new students from different countries around the world. Some of the country names, I had never even heard of. For this, I give credit to Griffith University because in one move my view attained global perception.
Fast forward and my first semester was extremely difficult for me as the study criteria was totally different than my previous study environment. One marked difference is in how you address your professors, in India, you address your professors as sir or madam depending on their gender. In my new environment, I found it a bit awkward to say their names at the start of a conversation without any salutation. As time passed by, it became fine for me as well since now I feel more connected to the professors.
Second semester was much better since I had almost completely adjusted to the new academic environment. Going forward, I think I am now much more comfortable as I gain new friends every other day. Prior to commencing my university journey here, I had some concerns in my mind regarding what I had heard in the media about racism. Am happy to say that three semesters on and I have not encountered anything in that realm.
PS: Now I have made up my mind that whenever or if I find any form of racism in Australia, I will ask for the person’s details for my autobiography. Which I or someone else will write someday. 😛 😛 because it will not be completed without mentioning that legends name.
Enough about the studies, let’s explore the places I have visited so far. My first trip was to the Queen Mary falls, an exotic natural place with water fall. After that there was a long list of places such as Brisbane lookout point at Mt Gravatt and Mt Coo-tha, Surfers’ Paradise in Gold Coast, Mt Tamborine and other local locations. I can’t forget to mention long drives to Sydney, Coffs Harbor and Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo.The trip to Stradbroke Island was one of the best life experiences of all the trips.
Oh My! I’ve got so much to write. Describing each of these experiences can end up in different blog posts. Which hopefully I will write soon.
Now comes the big question, has Australia provided me with whatever I expected? Well the experiences so far have made me very confident, back in time I used to be a very shy and scared person. Talking to strangers was always a big deal for me. And now, I can’t stop my jibber-jabber. Studying and learning experience is very awesome at Griffith. But I am sorry to say that besides living in Australia, I don’t have any Aussie friend so far. Well, there are some casual “hello, hi” type of friends but not a close friend. There could be many reasons to explain this and I am still exploring to find out why. Something I find surprising is that this is a common issue with most of the international students I know.
If I look back a year ago, I am a totally different and better person now when it comes to talking to different people or to explore the world from different perspectives. I have learnt about different cultures from most of the countries of the world without going to those countries and I am still exploring. Well, I don’t know whether the decision was right or wrong but life has been very good so far. I am liking it here. Furthermore, it has made me a courageous person as I used to be a very shy and always behind the line type of guy, to write a public blog, so there must be some magic in the Australia.
A special thanks to my friend Moses for suggesting some edits and eliminating few grammatical errors.