There is really nothing like studying abroad. You're at a new school in a different country surrounded by people you don't know, and as anyone can imagine, it is a bit overwhelming. I was lucky enough to come to Australia, so I don't have to deal with the language barrier that most other students face on their study abroad experiences. However, the entire ordeal has still been strenuous, to say the least. I wasn't sure how I was going to cope with all of the stress, but I found an odd comfort: reality television. I know, I know, it sounds silly. I was surprised that I got into it, but before you judge me too harshly, let me explain:
I've never been a huge fan of reality TV. I have caught an episode of Survivor or Project Runway on occasion, but I have not really been dedicated enough to stick out an entire season. I prefer binge-watching a Netflix original series. When I got to Australia, my friend and I saw a commercial for Australian Survivor. It happened to be on next, and we needed something to watch, so we decided to give it a shot. It was everything that you picture when you think about reality television. It is a sensational mess filled with melodramatic people and each episode ends with a cliff-hanger. To be honest, I thought I was watching it ironically, until I found myself tuning in each week. My friend and I debate game strategy, and we never miss an episode if we can help it.
There's something about watching Australian Survivor that is comforting. Even though it isn't exactly like American Survivor, it is still something familiar. Trust me when I say that familiar things are really great when you're abroad and missing home. Plus, it is a reason to invite people over that I might not necessarily hang out with normally, and it creates a low-stress situation that doesn't call for constant social engagement throughout. My social anxiety is pretty bad, and I am also a huge introvert. That means that going out to big social events is incredibly draining for me. Even talking to people in my classes is daunting. I need time to myself, but I have to be careful that time alone doesn't become the only thing I do. Reality TV is, according to me, best spent with a few friends. Laughing at the comically grandiose drama is a bonding experience, and it is something that we can do every single week. Is it quality entertainment? Perhaps not, but that isn't going to stop me from tuning in next week.