Happy Trails

H. Saul University of Sydney, Australia


November 8, 2016

Dear readers, publishers, and friends whom I have dragged to this URL: welcome to the end.

Last night I bid my official academic studies adieu, this morning I handed in drafts of two Co-Curricular Learning Certificates, and my laptop is imminently headed for storage. The next two months will consist of road tripping through the outback and backpacking through Southeast Asia, bumming on all the beaches and climbing all the mountains I can find along the way. A few weeks ago my sister and her girlfriend joined me in Sydney, and tomorrow morning we fly off for Uluru, to see the Red Centre* of the Australian inner desert landscape. I am thrilled at the prospect of having only one more semester of college left, but I cannot help but feel just the slightest bit sad.

Sydney Uni has been good to me. It has proffered friends and concerts and free food and terrific parties. Sitting out on the quad teaching myself the ukulele and randomly stumbling upon club events will comprise some of my fondest memories, certainly not to be outdone by my academics of course. My visits to the State Library of New South Wales (the oldest library in the country) and hearing from guest lecturers of Indigenous descent have been some of the most academically awe-inspiring moments of my educational career. Sydney Uni has an enrolment** of around 53,000 students. Brandeis University (my home university) has 5,000 students. The sense of community and activity is very different on this campus, and I will admit that much of the time I felt very lost. But I think that was perhaps the most valuable experience I gained of all.

Sydney Uni allowed me to figure out who I am without all of the distractions of who I have been. I had the chance to utterly remake myself with no ties to specific clubs, academics, or even people, and it showed me the type of future I can make for myself. It showed me the type of future I want to make for myself. So while I am sad to say goodbye to arguably one of the best institutions of higher education in Australia, I am excited for the journeys still to come. Of course the backpacking to come over the next few months, but more broadly the chances I will have to remake myself. I'm grateful for this study abroad experience primarily for that reason. And to see kangaroos in the wild of course.

And this is not goodbye to Sydney. I'll be back in a few weeks with my mother, and perhaps even in a few months depending on the outcome of the fast-approaching presidential election. So thanks Arcadia. Thank you for a great support system and a terrific semester abroad. Thanks for the program managers, the students, the excursions, and some great free food.



I haven't completely lost my sense of grammar. I'm just trying out a new dialect. When in Rome, as they say.


Australia Semester