When friends and family ask me "Why Australia?", I respond promptly: "Jobs." While the economy in America may have perked up slightly, there still seem to be fewer opportunities for my age bracket. I've heard plenty of scary stories at this point, and frankly I don't have much of that coveted "experience" in any thing at all. Unless, of course, you count experience in academia.
And trust me, I tried pretty hard to go that route in Australia. I desperately wanted to get a Masters in science communication at UWA, but there's no way I could (or would) spend $50 000+ in tuition alone. So I applied for scholarships. I aimed for the moon and applied for horribly competitive international scholarships. I spent all of 2012 working on these applications, honing my research proposal with anyone who'd give me the time of day, emailing my potential supervisor a thousand times, and devouring books on my subject. I wrote a personal essay that made the English student tutor cry, honest-to-the-gods, I kid you not.
But alas: I'm certain it was the bloody interview that did me in. (Note: if in your group interview, the architect prof and the physics prof get in a fight about whether you're accounting for correlation and not causation in your science-communication-about-geology project [about which they obviously don't understand], you're probably fucked.) Lesson learned: Don't try to answer stupid questions in interviews.
I may apply again for UWA scholarships, but I'm going to wait to make that decision, because committing to being in Perth until 3+ years down the road isn't what I really had in mind.
For the next few months, I think I'll just enjoy working and traveling around Australia with my wonderful Australian boyfriend. Because, yes, he's rather a part of why I'm going to Perth. We tried to be sensible and said we'd "see what happened" when I returned to New Mexico. But it didn't take me long too realize that the truly sensible thing to do was hang on tight to a man who mails me hand-written letters that can make me laugh until I've got tears streaming down my face (true story).
By the way, I WILL come back to New Mexico and to my extended family all over America, so for the love of the gods, please stop saying "This is maybe the last time I'll see you!" (it makes me grumpy). Because I'm pretty excited for my next year in Perth, which I hope:
|Starts out with some anti-jet lag sleep....|
|Includes some relaxing beach time...|
|And some happy hiking....|
|So here we go!|