Monday, 25 July 2016

What I got out of my Antipodeans' Unibreak

An appreciation for my life 

I always knew we had it good in Australia, but coming back from Cambodia made me reflect on exactly how good we do have it. We are so lucky to have a government that supports health and education. Having an education is something that is truly valuable and can never be taken away from you. I realised just how fortunate we are to have access to education and have a government that supports this. I came back a more peaceful, grateful and tolerant person.

Having a government and system that upholds the rule of law is something most Australians would definitely take for granted. Having been exposed to Cambodians who have had their land taken from them and their houses bulldozed by the government with little to no compensation is devastating and a reality we will likely never face in Australia. Practicing as a lawyer in Australia is much easier and much more supported by resources, education and without the uphill battle against a corrupt system. Working in the legal system in Cambodia taught me to appreciate the Australian legal system and the value of foreign aid. 

The confidence to travel 
This trip has given me the confidence to travel the world, even on my own. Traveling overseas, somewhere you have never been with a group of people you have never met was a new and overwhelming experience. It taught me that I am much more capable on my own than I realised and that the world is my oyster! I am more eager than ever to experience the world and even go to places I previously never would have considered.

You only get out of life what you put in 
Yes, this is a cliché quote you would see on a fridge magnet or bumper sticker. And yes, this was stressed to us before we left, but I didn’t really think about it until I was almost finished my first week of placement. I noticed that those of us who enjoyed the experience the most were the ones who put everything in, who asked questions, who engaged with locals and who were optimistic and open- minded. Those who arrived with preconceptions or expectations were quickly disappointed and this tended to leave a bad taste for the rest of their trip. Going into any experience, particularly one that involved work, travel or both, it is so important not to have any expectations before hand and to just dive in! I would much rather leave exhausted than with regrets of what I should have done or said. I have always been a fairly optimistic and open-minded person but this trip showed me why this is so important to take things as they come and embrace every opportunity life throws your way.

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