Howdy, Australia- See ya, Texas

Hi y’all! My name is Alaina Smith and I am here at Flinders on exchange from the University of Texas at Austin. My first two and a half weeks here have been nothing but a whirlwind- a whirlwind of emotion, assignments, to-do lists, and beautiful scenery. It’s been tough, to say the least, to leave my family and friends behind back in Texas. But, I am managing to stay busy and not dwell on my homesickness. Adelaide is absolutely beautiful, and I’m still in shock that amazing, white sand beaches are seriously just a 20 minute bus ride away.

I wasn’t expecting Australia to be that different from Austin. I knew that I was going 9,500 miles away from home, but I figured that Australia had a lot in common with the US so it wouldn’t feel that far away. We speak the same language, worship the same celebrities, and both complain about how hot it is. I was not prepared for the little things, the simplest things, to be so strange.

In Australia, everyone walks on the opposite side of the sidewalk (the left side, y’all) whereas I am used to powerwalking to class using the right lane of traffic. It’s so weird to adjust something that you don’t ever think about at home- but no worries, I’m trying. I only got yelled at once- thank you, stranger at Coles. Speaking of Coles, none of the grocery stores or brands are the same. No Tide detergent, no Dole canned pineapple, no Poptarts, no Dasani bottled water- when I walk through the grocery aisles (on the left side, of course) there isn’t a familiar name in sight. But, that’s not all bad. I’ve tried some Australian food, and to be honest, I’m quite taken with the delicacy referred to as Tim Tams.

People wise, I think Australians are a lot like Texans. Everyone is super friendly, and they definitely reciprocate when you flash them a smile. The slang is a little different, but I think I’m catching on, mates. I’m also surprised on how many questions I get from people about life in America, but it’s so fun to be in a situation where I’m learning about Australian slang and culture, while getting to tell people how we do it in Texas.

Moral of the story: I wasn’t prepared for how different everything would actually be, but I am pleasantly surprised by the locals, the nearby scenery and the delicious cuisine. I am definitely excited to adjust to life here in the coming weeks. I want to do and see so many things, but classes do come first, so I’m not going to spread myself too thin. I am beyond happy to be here, and I know that there are some great things in store!

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