It is now the end of my study abroad adventure in Australia. As I reflect on all of the amazing opportunities that I was given over the last four months, there are many people that are deserving of the greatest thank yous, as this dream never would have been possible without you.
I’m so sad you never got to see one of my favorite beaches in Australia, but know that I was thinking of you the whole time I was there. There are so many things to thank you for in regards to my study abroad experience that I’m not sure a single photo or post will cover it all. Thank you for raising me to be strong and positive when life does not always go as planned, teaching me to be grateful for everything God blesses upon me, for teaching me finances so I had somewhat of a clue of what I was doing and how to budget, and for accepting my sometimes risk taking behavior. Allowing your daughter to travel halfway across the world to live on her own for four months is brave and I can imagine difficult, and I will be forever thankful to you for allowing me to do all that I have done, knowing that it would make me a better person in the end. Please know that wherever I go, I will always come home to you, I love you the most always and forever. ❤
Dad, your support and unconditional love mean the world to be, and I can never thank you enough for all that you have done for me and taught me over the years. Your travel advice from your young travelling days always made me smile. Thank you for appreciating my travel stories that no one else really cares about, for encouraging me to take every adventure and challenge I could, and for allowing me travel halfway across the world to find myself again. You always have more faith in me than I do in myself, and when you are doing something like study abroad, having that person in your corner that trusts you will do great things gives you courage that cannot be put into words. Thanks for also giving me cooking classes over the phone and trying to help me maneuver my way around an unfamiliar grocery store, I might have only eaten four months of pasta if it wasn’t for you.
If it weren’t for you, I would have absolutely no clue what rugby is or how it is played. I mean, I still pretty much just watch a game wide eyed and confused, but at least I understand the spirit that correlates with the sport after watching your passion for it over the years. Your encouragement and willingness to listen to all of my stories, whether significant or pointless has been a key factor in keeping my sane during this trip. Thank you for always protecting me and watching over me, but also supporting me when I leave my comfort zone.
Lew, you’ve been one of my most talked about people on this trip. I’ve missed you terribly; I rely on my memories of you always trying to make others laugh with no filter. As I have found myself often meeting strangers here and asking for help, I think of how you would handle the situation and the kindness you share towards others and ability to befriend practically anyone. In Moreton Island, we went sand tobogganing over a huge desert full of sand dunes, which I know would have been your own playground with your bulldozer. I took advantage of everything free and always ate dessert, and maybe brought you home a few Aussie biscuits 🙂
I wish more than anything that you could have made it to Australia. You would love all of the beaches, botanic gardens, and endless street markets. Thank you for sharing your love for crafts and gardening with me, as I took a huge appreciation for them while I was here. Thank you for encouraging me to pursue my dreams, and for making my days a little better with your Valentine’s Day mail.
First off, I have to thank you for supporting me as I chased my dream, even if it meant missing your last semester at UNH. I wish I could have been at both places at once, but I’m confident you will be back for Libby’s dates next year J As my fellow beach lover, I know you can understand what being able to travel around the ocean meant for me. The sea is where we both find the answers we search for and discover more about ourselves, and even overseas I know we have the ocean connecting us. You make me the proudest little and I can’t wait to see all the places you will go.
My lovely littles!! I have missed you both so much and wish I could have packed you in my suitcases and brought you with me. Your Snapchats always made my day and I was so happy to hear from you whenever I did. With Shannon being ready for any adventure, and Lauren being a fellow beach lover like me, the Great Ocean Road would have been an ideal big/little road trip location. Thank you for all of your support, I can’t wait for the adventures we will have together in the next few years! 🙂
The majority of my adventures have been with you two stooges. 7 years ago, we made the idea of skydiving in Switzerland for our 18th birthdays. Unfortunately we never quite made it there, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do the highest skydive jump in Australia while I was here. I can’t help but think that I never would have decided to skydive if it wasn’t for your two inspiring minds. You guys are what made Australia so amazing last time and your willingness to go on any adventure when posed with one gave me the courage and inspiration to make it back to our land down under. Thank you for being a part of my life changing adventure at 13, and for helping me reach where I am today.
Who knew I would be able to find a gazebo down under in one of my favorite places? Well, obviously I immediately thought of you thought this would have been your favorite place in Australia. To be honest, I don’t know if I would have gone through with studying abroad if it was not for your unconditional encouragement. Applying for study abroad and all of the logistics that go into the trip prior to boarding the plane are stressful and overwhelming, and whenever I got discouraged or lost sight of what the ultimate goal was, you were there to remind me why I started all of this in the first place. Four months a part was difficult at times, but it was all worth it when I got to see you again on my first day home. Thank you for helping me chase my dreams, love. 🙂
It breaks my heart that People to People is no longer running programs. My People to People experience in 2009 was one of the bet decisions I ever made. From an early age it gave me a sense of independence and thirst for adventure. Thank you for giving me a three-week taste of such a beautiful country that led me to return and call it home for four months. Most importantly, thank you for introducing the Budden Family into my life, opening me up to Australian family culture. Without P2P, the dreams I have for my life might not be the same, and I might have never had the urge to study abroad or go to Australia.
I reckon that all of my challenge days and discussions on reaching beyond your comfort zone are what encouraged me to embark on this journey the way I did. I sought out challenge after challenge, trying to consistently step outside of my comfort zone. Leaders School taught me the benefits that accompany new experiences and taking risks, as well as the growth one experiences when accomplishing a challenge. I knew if I went through study abroad the way I live when at Leaders School, then I would return home with a new perspective on life and return a better person than when I left. Without your lessons on how to be an adventurous leader and encouragement to follow my goals, my time abroad might have been wasted. Thank you for giving me the tools to help me make the most of my adventure of a lifetime, and I cannot wait to come home to Branch Lake and share my stories.
Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat, even down under! Thank you to the UNH study abroad office for all of your help and advise on choosing a program, financial budgeting, and keeping me safe abroad. This is also a shout out to all of my friends at UNH that took the time to figure out the time difference to Skype, the faculty that helped me figure out class registration and housing for this upcoming year when I was unable to do so, and the HDFS and History departments for allowing me to take such interesting classes while abroad that definitely expanded my knowledge in my two fields.
Last but not least, thank you to the Education Abroad Network for putting together such an incredible program, allowing me an unforgettable orientation in Sydney, free chocolate and coffee on numerous occasions, and a trip of a lifetime to Fiji that never would have been possible without you. I spent at least five hours on the phone with program coordinators prior to leaving with lots of (and sometimes small and pointless) questions and concerns about what studying abroad would entail, and I appreciate all of your help and support along the way.