International Study: Rock arrival from Bhutan leads to love affair with Armidale

Uncertain at first: Dorji "Yang" Yangzom from Bhutan has come to think of Armidale as her second home.

Uncertain at first: Dorji "Yang" Yangzom from Bhutan has come to think of Armidale as her second home.

Armidale Express Extra has been helping tell the amazing stories of the University of New England’s international students. Today we meet Yang (Dorji Yangzom) from Bhutan.

Two years ago, I left Bhutan and travelled to Armidale. I got admission in the University of New England to study psychology.

It took three different flights and a tiresome 18 hours to get to Armidale. It was my first time being that far away from home in an entirely different hemisphere.

I was thrilled to delve into the unfamiliarity of a new place. But at the same time, the idea of starting anew in a strange place petrified me.

I think I got here when it was almost the end of summer. It was still pretty hot. But it didn’t take me long to realise how erratic Armidale’s weather can be.

Initially, I did not feel like I belonged here. It was dreadful to think that I would be spending the next three years in this town. I was afraid that I would never know my way around this place. I hated the taste of the water and I terribly missed home.

That winter was miserable.

It took me a while to settle down. Now that I have settled down properly, things have changed. I love Armidale as much as I love my hometown.

This place is a home away from home. And I wouldn’t trade being anywhere else for being here.

I could go on to tell you about 28,745,287 other things I like about being here and the list could still go on.

My course concludes this year and I will return to my country soon after that. I am going to miss so many things about Armidale. I don’t know where to start.

I will begin with how beautiful it is, especially in autumn when the whole town is almost an exquisite play of colours. And I am thankful to those ever-changing deciduous trees on Elm Street, they are always such a pleasant sight.

I will miss the caramel sunsets; the view is even better from the northern vantage point. From there, you can macroscopically see the entire town centre.

Twice a year, most of the neighbourhood yards are adorned with full rose blossoms.  My personal favourite are the red roses of Belgrave Cinema. I’m definitely going to miss going to the cinema for late night movies wearing pyjamas with my friends.

And God bless whoever makes the hot chocolate there, it’s a saving grace for movie nights in winter.

Armidale has got so many amazing cafes to quench the thirst of a caffeine addict like me. I would totally binge drink coffee, if there were any such thing, starting with Two Goats café’s latte to Elly’s butterscotch latte. And if you are not a coffee person, the Café 195 does epic smoothies.

Besides, if I could take anything to Bhutan with me, it would be a lifetime supply of  St Kilda Hotel’s $7 lunch meals.

There are so many things I enjoy doing in Armidale. There’s this marvellous second-hand bookshop Boobooks in the town centre. They have got a great collection and trust me that place smells like home.

And it breaks my heart that I can never take heaps of books back home with me. Another place to be is New England Regional Art Museum. They have beautiful exhibits of local artists. 

I could go on to tell you about 28,745,287 other things I like about being here and the list could still go on. It has been a wonderful journey and I have met many amazing friends.

All of this has really been a life-changing experience for me. I think a piece of me will always belong here.

- Yang (Dorji Yangzom)

Read more stories of Armidale’s international students: