Why I'm Studying Abroad in Sydney, Australia

Nicole Hawkins
January 7, 2020

I’m currently sitting at my favorite coffee shop in my hometown of Tucson, Arizona. My iced coffee sits in front of me as I take in the Arizona sun and the view of the Catalina mountains towering over me. Familiar faces pass by as I reflect on the memories I have in this city. Since moving here when I was seven, Tucson has shaped me in countless ways. From experiencing the birth of my brothers and the loss of my father in this city to meeting my lifelong best friends and graduating from high school, this place has seen me through some of my best and worst times. In my eyes, Tucson is synonymous with family, home and comfort.

So why am I leaving? That’s a question I’ve been asked time and time again -- as I moved away to college in Texas, as I studied abroad in Spain, and now, as I prepare to study at the University of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. It’s also a question I haven’t truly considered until writing this. 

Considering that I was (and still am) the kid that asked for books for her birthday and I spend hours of time (and too much of my money) in bookshops, the bookworm in me is itching to share this quote by St. Augustine as an explanation. 

“The world is a book, and those who don’t travel read only one page.”

Although it's a quote I would have most likely reblogged on Tumblr in the sixth grade, it’s still one I hold dear as I discover more about the world and myself. 

As I’ve traveled both alone and with others, within the United States and beyond, I’ve read (and written) pages in the book of who I am. I’ve learned about what makes me me by removing myself from all the people and things I thought defined me. Without the comfort of being in the town I grew up in or around the people who have known me for years, I’ve been forced (in the best, most terrifying ways) to discover who I am all over again. In the midst of this self-discovery, I’ve grown, changed and transformed. And, as cliché as it seems, while “reading” the book of who I am, I’ve also become the author. 

Travel has been the catalyst to my growth. Travel has shown me that I can write the pages of my own life. Travel has taught me that the mountaintops and the valleys of life don’t have to define me. I can be the author of my own book.

Ultimately, that’s my verbose, long-winded answer to why I’m leaving a place I love -- to continue writing my story and to keep uncovering the pages that are already there. 

Sydney, I can’t wait to discover the chapter of life you bring.

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Nicole Hawkins

<p>Nicole is a journalism and political science major at Texas Christian University. Originally from Tucson, Arizona, she is excited to leave the Southwest behind for a semester at the University of Sydney! While abroad, you’ll most likely find her en route to a coffee shop or on the beach with a book in hand.</p>

Home University:
Texas Christian University
Tucson, Arizona
Political Science
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