Even though there is always a feeling of uncertainty and fear before travelling for a long period, there is no better way to challenge yourself and explore your own soul. This is why young spirits should take the most rewarding risk to come to Australia, like I did almost four years ago writes Laura Beltran.
When you are 19 years old, the world feels like a monstrous creature that sooner or later will come and get you. But thanks to this fear and uncertainty, your soul fills with desires of wanting to take over the world and prove it wrong.
That’s why I ended up deciding to come to Australia and do my whole degree in Sydney because even though I was leaving my friends, my family and my comfortable life, an unfathomable desire to renew myself, renew the reality that at the moment was my only truth, shouted at me.
It wasn’t till I landed in Australia that I realised it wasn’t another of my spoiled and silly shenanigans. There was no way back to regret the reckless decision I made and when I felt each kilometre of distance from home a tear hung on my dark lashes.
My emotions and thoughts were blended with a 1500-watt motor, raising more questions than answers:What if I will never speak English? What if I’ll never get to see a kangaroo? Will an Australian boy tear my heart? What if I will simply fail?
It’s been three years since that whirlwind of emotions cursed through my body. Now I look back and smile for having taken the decision to come to Australia with courage, dedication and conviction in myself. I often think what I may have missed by not being back home: every tick of the clock marks time away from my family, friends who have suffered and achieved so much in my absence, experiences that would have made me a completely different person.
But if I hadn’t ever left Colombia, I would never have appreciated its beauty. If I hadn’t left, I would never have discovered the value of trivial things like finding an address by myself without even a clue about what direction cars drive in, finding a job by myself and becoming an essential member of the family; I would have never been made so happy for getting a room, a bed; and, more importantly, having successfully cleaned a load of white laundry.
I wouldn’t have fallen in love with an Australian boy and understood that language is insignificant; that the language of the senses overcomes barriers. I would never have grown stronger and much wiser after breaking up with him and having to start from zero. I would never have created the most genuine, solid and essential relationships with those who are not my blood family.
Australia has introduced me to many unknown circumstances, feelings and opportunities that have shaped me in unrecognisable ways. But not everything has been as easy or natural as I expected. What’s been a challenge is life at university. I feel Australian students don’t understand where I come from or who I am, which has put a barrier between us. Also, the fact that in Australia people tend to leave home at an early age means they need to have a part time job or a source of income to afford their expenses. Consequently, their busy schedules don’t really allow them to dedicate time to building other solid relationships outside the ones created at school.
So university has become a responsibility rather than a memorable experience that complements the many other aspects of my life and personality.
But, on the other hand, university has allowed me to challenge my own insecurities and explore my personal capabilities and potential. I’ve proved myself wrong in thinking I was never going to be good enough because of language limitations; I’ve understood that I can succeed in Australia, or anywhere. Because cultural and language differences will never undermine my plentitude of life and aspirations to embrace and drown in a world of senses and ideas.
Regardless of whether I now feel less or more Australian, Australia has certainly taught me to appreciate people from different backgrounds, with different ways of thinking. and unfamiliar behaviours and beliefs.
Regardless of whether my professional goals and my future destination remain uncertain, my soul and spirit have been empowered in this country, have been awakened. But some degree of anxiety remains and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared of feeling scared.
But I’ve learned that one lives and runs towards things that look challenging and promising. I’ve learned that life passes and you grow wiser when you allow yourself to blend into different landscapes, with different shades and expectations. I’ve learned that putting yourself outside that insipid comfort zone is when you actually experience the beauty of the world: profoundly and vastly.