Hi friends and family,
Sorry for taking such a long time to post another update. Classes have been absolutely crazy and I’ve been trying to alleviate some of my cabin fever by getting out of my apartment a bit more!
My semester in Sydney, Australia definitely has not gone as planned. With my host university moving courses online, lockdown measures and travel restrictions being implemented, and the cancellation of my study abroad programs all due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, this experience has changed in ways I never could have expected.
As many of you know, I have still not returned home yet. With over 1 million active cases and counting of COVID-19 in the United States (>7,500 in TN and >5,000 in MS), I know I made the right choice to remain in Australia for the time being (<650 active cases and <100 deaths nationwide, <450 in New South Wales). I feel safe here in Sydney, and as the local government is beginning to relax restrictions, I have high hopes the the University of Sydney will resume in-person courses for Semester 2 (Fall 2020).
In that spirit, I am looking into options to remain in Sydney for an additional semester. I am taking the first steps to re-applying/re-enrolling to the university, and Ole Miss is working with me to insure my course credits and financial aid will transfer again. This will be the best option for me because I struggle to succeed in online courses and I feel quite sure that Ole Miss will be online in the Fall. Additionally, if Ole Miss does host in-person classes next term, I wouldn’t feel comfortable returning yet given the worsening conditions and the influx of students from around the country and world that in-person courses would bring to the campus. If classes at the University of Sydney go online in the Fall, I would still feel safer and more comfortable being here than in Oxford to live and work, and I would have greater opportunity to complete an international internship given that my grant for an internship in Thailand this summer was cancelled.
If I am unable to work out remaining in Sydney for an additional semester, however unlikely, the earliest I will be returning to the States is mid-August 2020. The latest I should return is January 2021 to complete my final semester at Ole Miss and- finger crossed- have my graduation ceremony.
Feel free to text me or message me on Facebook for updates! Also, many of you have postcards on the way! They are extremely delayed because I sent them just as Australia post halted all shipping to the U.S., but they should be on the way now that shipping has re-opened! If I did not get your address and you want a postcard, let me know!
And as always, here are some photos from the past few weeks. ❤ 🙂
I hope that you are all staying safe and healthy! Please keep in touch!