Traveling to Australia taught me many things about the world and about myself. This was the farthest from America I'd been, and just the experience of traveling has been greatly beneficial. Despite long plane rides and security lines, I was able to have fun with my friends and grow closer with girls I had known for years.
Being in another country, especially one so far away, was an experience that was completely new for me. Little things, like light switches and doing the dishes, were beautifully different and surprising, but the biggest distinction between my “American” life and my “Australian” life was the uniforms we wore to school. Seeing so many girls wearing the exact same thing was strange and funny for me, since it had been such a long time since I had worn or even seen people in school uniforms. Though I'd never give up the KPS dress code, the uniform made getting ready for school much easier. Most schools in Australia, even public schools, have some kind of uniform.
Despite many differences, I learned about all the ways that American and Australian girls are similar. We listen to the same music and make the same jokes (but in our own accents). Though we played different sports, we enjoyed playing on each other's teams. Both American girls and Australian girls love to hear and try to mimic how the other talks. Every day we practiced saying new words to perfect our “Aussie” accent.
The similarities between our two worlds was something that I hadn't expected. On the plane, I was preparing myself to enter an entirely unfamiliar place, but what I walked into was one that felt and acted a lot like the one I'd just left. This has changed how I see the whole world, not just Australia and America. Despite location, people are more alike and connected than you’d think.
I’m so grateful for the opportunity to visit Australia and connect with people who will be my friends for years to come. This trip brought me to a completely different part of the world that I may never have seen. It showed me both the differences and the similarities between our countries and changed how I view the world and travel within it. I would encourage other girls to take any chance they can to study abroad, as it was one of the best experiences I've ever had. Being able to go to school with girls your age from another country is something that you could only do at this point in your life, so putting myself out there and going abroad in high school was one of the best decisions I've ever made.