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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Au revoir, United States”

As the semester winds down and many are making plans to go home for the holidays, many exchange students are instead reflecting on a more permanent kind of departure and what both leaving the States and returning to their home country will mean to them.

In writing this article, I am forced to not only consider how I will reconcile my desire to see family and friends in Australia with the life I have here in Tucson, but also whether my relatively brief stay in the U.S. may lead to a future change in residence. (I’m going to ignore the horrendous amount of red tape involved in such a move and pretend that the Department of Immigration would acquiesce to any such desire.)

Culturally, such a change would not be as drastic as moving to, say, Bolivia. But having lived several months here, there’s no doubt that the differences between the two countries are significant enough to warrant due consideration as to the benefits and drawbacks of each.

One of the main reasons I wanted to study abroad was that campus life at my home university in Australia, and presumably at many others in our sunburnt country, has deteriorated almost to the point of nonexistence. I would urge all of you to study there as an exchange student, but don’t do it and expect the food courts and plazas to be brimming with students every day. Going to university can be an isolating experience, with many young Australians seeing it as an inconvenience to fit into their work schedules. The disadvantage is that it is exponentially more difficult to find an available computer on campus at the UA than at Australia’s Integrated Learning Center equivalents.

The language barriers between Americans and Australians are pretty minimal, though I’ve had to explain my intent in using sarcasm as being fundamentally inoffensive on many occasions. Given my arguable overuse of it and the apparent reluctance of American broadcasters to screen British and Australian television shows, I’d be the one that would have to adjust. This would mean a complete overhaul in how I approach humor, and I’m not sure if I’m ready for such an adjustment.

But in truth, there is only one important factor that realistically plays into my decision. Given the greater opportunities that are available career-wise in the U.S. and the disproportionate amount of touring that bands engage in here compared to Australia, the U.S. would likely be my preferred place of residence right now if logistics were not an issue. Except for one thing.

I have not had to really deal with the health care system here, except for the obligatory $600 for health insurance that I had to pay at the beginning of the semester. My initial thought was that my hypochondriacal tendencies would allow me to fully capitalize on all the health services available to me, at least on campus. So you can imagine my disappointment upon finding out I would still need to pay to receive medical attention, even after having paid a fee for health insurance that was virtually impossible to have waived even if we proved that we had more comprehensive health insurance elsewhere. Such a ludicrous policy does little to suggest that the health care industry has the interests of its patients in mind. 

I won’t pretend to know enough about the U.S. health care system to know how to fix it, or even whether it is fixable, but I do know that I’ve never had to pay to seek out medical care on campus at home, and that bears great impact on my decision about where to live. (This forced avoidance of medical attention has actually been kind of helpful for me, but most people are not in the same position of suffering almost exclusively from psychosomatic illnesses).

I have loved my time here and I have loved Tucson. I don’t know why so many Tucsonans complain about this fair little city so much. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be back, and likely for prolonged periods of time.

I just hope I don’t ever get sick.

— Dunja Nedic is an Australian exchange student. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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