In my first year I went backpacking across Australia with my boyfriend. Our favourite place by far was Tasmania. The views are spectacular and the people are friendlier than you expect. We once asked for directions from a pedestrian and she made doubly, triply sure that we understood which way to go. She really didn’t want us to get lost, so that was very nice. I would move to Tasmania in a heartbeat if it didn’t get so cold there in winter.
Taiwan is also beautiful. It’s surrounded by the ocean and there are so many mountains but it’s also a developed country. You can choose to ride a scooter through the cities, it’s all very convenient. Food is cheap and you can live very comfortably there. When I’m in Taiwan though, I feel I have too many emotions. I have a lot of relatives there, so if someone has a problem there is a lot to worry about even if it doesn’t directly impact you. Now that I’m here, I still definitely feel sorry and will try my best to help them from afar. But I’m not as invested, in Australia I get to be free.
My boyfriend went back to Taiwan after our backpacking year ended, I made the decision to stay in Australia on my own. We’re still together and we Skype and Facebook a lot. It’s hard because we’ve been in a long-distance relationship for a year now. But I’m still living in the house where we stayed together and I still have the car he bought in Tasmania. So sometimes when I Skype him, I show him around the room and I say “This is your bed. Your bed says I’m here waiting for you”. Sometimes I take the car and go for a drive, it makes me think about him and I feel better.
I recently started to dream in English. It’s really cool, it kind of shows how I’ve started to truly settle down here in Australia. When we first arrived in Sydney, we really wanted to explore so we decided to catch a ferry to Manly one day. My boyfriend and I must have looked like tourists because when we met some Australian people on the ferry, they saw us and said “你好”. It’s been almost a year since that incident. And I know for a fact that I’ve adjusted to life in Sydney because no one says “你好” to me anymore.
Interchange is an innovative and design-thinking program run specifically for 200 undergraduate international students from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), University of New South Wales (UNSW), University of Sydney, University of Western Sydney (UWS) and Australian Catholic University (ACU). Humans of Interchange is a mini editorial project to highlight the melting pot of diversity that exists in Australia and to give its international students a voice.