The Day I Left For NYU

For many the move to college is a family affair, complete with parental support and advice as you navigate your new surroundings. But what happens when you must make this momentous transition alone, embarking on the journey solo?

That was my reality as an international student bound to major in Drama at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, leaving the cozy familiarity of Melbourne. Due to Australia’s strict lockdown rules, my family’s travel plans to accompany me to New York were dashed. I had no option but to take this adventure by myself.


I can still recall the silence in the almost deserted Melbourne airport. My footsteps echoed in the vast departure lounge. As I boarded one of the last flights out of the country, my life was contained in two suitcases. Anticipation and uncertainty were my only travel companions. By the time I got on my connecting flight, I already felt like the warmth of my goodbye hugs with family slowly leaving me and retracing their steps back home.

Me and my Mom hugging each other in an empty Melbourne airport
Saying goodbye to my family in Melbourne before flying to New York

Culture Shock and Figuring Things Out

Landing in the bustling heart of New York City, the learning curve was similar to the city’s towering skyline: steep and intimidating. The initial weeks were a mix of triumphs and comedic failures. My first solo run to Target for dorm supplies? Picture me wrestling with oversized boxes on a packed Manhattan subway, inciting laughter and sympathetic nods.

Packing for New York? Remember winter. Melbourne winters did nothing to prep me for the icy cold of a New York winter. So pack those gloves, scarves, and snow boots!

Myself standing outside one of the NYU First-Year dorms on Washington Square East, with an overwhelming number of suitcases and bags in my possession.
Moving into my dorm with all my belongings

Resourcefulness quickly became my middle name. The Office of Student Success was my lifeline for budgeting and decoding the cost of living in the city. I found gold in NYU forums, with tips on everything from preordering bedding to the best phone plans for international students.

Navigating the intricate web of the subway system was a rite of passage, as were the occasional tear-filled nights. But during the ups and downs, I found solace in long walks and in the charming French cafes scattered across the city where I could flex my French skills.

A busy street in the West Village
Exploring new neighborhoods
A street corner in the East Village
Going on long walks to cure my homesickness

Growing Stronger

Amidst the discomfort, the growth was exponential. Every misstep, laughable moment, and self-doubt transformed into building blocks for resilience and independence.

Me and some of my friends sitting with each other at a Central Park picnic
Finding friends who make New York City feel like a home away from home

Most importantly I found my New York family—a group of incredible adults who took me under their wing and taught me the ropes of this sprawling city. Without their support, guidance, and enduring friendship, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

My solo leap to NYU was more than just a geographic shift, it was a stepping-stone to personal transformation. The nervous anticipation of that first day has morphed into assured self-reliance and the mental glow-up is as striking as the New York City skyline.


So, embrace the chaos, take that leap, and remember: you grow through what you go through.

Ben standing on 5th Avenue on his birthday.
Celebrating my birthday in New York with friends

Hi there! My name is Ben and I’m originally from Melbourne, Australia. I’m a Junior at NYU majoring in Drama and minoring in Business of Entertainment, Media & Technology (BEMT). On campus, you can find me either rehearsing for a show at the Tisch School of the Arts, working as an Admissions Ambassador, getting involved with the student-led theatre company Tisch New Theatre or contributing to student magazines such as Embodied and Baedeker. In my free time, I’m usually exploring the city, seeing a theatre production, or frequenting a local gallery. I’m extremely passionate about all things encompassing the entertainment industry, and I hope to pursue a career as an actor both in film/television and on stage, as well as in leadership and management roles for production companies. My purpose revolves around storytelling and I hope to apply this to his career. I have a million and one hobbies, so feel free to ask me about anything NYU or Australia-related that you’d like!