Academia, Lifestyle

Christmas in July

In March 2022, I made the best decision of my life.

Ever since I was accepted into university, I heard stories of upperclassmen gushing about their study abroad experience — saying it “changed their life” or “shaped who they are.” While I’d always roll my eyes, part of me was always curious about what they were talking about.

That curiosity won me over in the spring semester of junior year when I finally submitted my application to go abroad to Sydney, Australia, in hopes of finding an internship and taking classes Boston didn’t offer. 

It was spontaneous. I did it, not because I genuinely wanted to, but because I had a nagging feeling I’d regret it if I didn’t. 

Within the first few days, I was giddy with anticipation. I felt brave and unlike myself, but in the best way possible.

Then something happened at the end of March that threw everything out of the loop. I’d rather not share what it was because it’s not something I’d like to relive, but it messed with my mental health — it tore away my excitement. It was a leech — sucking away the happiness I was feeling weeks ago. 

And suddenly, “study abroad” didn’t mean anything anymore. 

Jacklyn Tsung | DFP Staff

It was just a title. Two words. Four syllables. Eleven letters. 

A blank.

It’s almost funny to me. Because I sit here, six months later, and those two words carry the weight of some of the happiest memories I’ve gotten the privilege of experiencing. 

From dancing in a club with some of the sweetest, liveliest people in the world to sitting at my desk at my internship site and interviewing professionals that made my heart pound with anxiety, my memories abroad have become my most cherished. 

It blew any expectations I had out of the water. I was nervous going into it, but those nerves dissolved the moment I met my roommate — who I’m convinced is an angel. I was absolutely terrified on the first day of my internship, but those friendly faces in the office made me feel at home. 

I was so, so deliriously happy in Sydney. 

Yes, it was winter there, and I missed my home, but it was exactly what I needed. Studying abroad was an essential part of my healing process. After what happened last semester, I realized I’ve moved on and found happiness again through my decision to go to Australia — stepping out of my comfort zone. 

I grew as a writer. I grew as a student. But more importantly, I grew as a person. I definitely still have a ways to go, but studying abroad was a huge step in the ladder I’ve been trying to climb since I got to BU and started envisioning my future. 

But of course, since this is life and not some fever dream — as much as it felt like it — there were some tough times. It was a challenge cooking meals when I was never the best chef. Working around my schedule was also difficult — making my internship my number one priority. 

However, the good severely overshadowed the bad. There were times I just sat in my bed — reflecting on the fact that I was in Australia. I had a dream internship with people that seemed too good for this world. 

Thankful doesn’t even begin to encompass what I’m feeling — not when the gratitude I have for everyone who was a part of those two months exceeds words. But it doesn’t matter. Words don’t mean much when the memories made there will last me a lifetime. 

It was Christmas in July — not only because it was the dead of winter in Sydney, but more importantly, the magical joy during the Christmas season never left me during my time abroad.

Even now, I’m slowly navigating my last year at Boston University and am carrying a piece of who I was in Australia wherever I go. 

I hope to God it never leaves me. 

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