If you ever have the opportunity to study abroad, take it! I completed an exchange program in Melbourne, Australia in 2016, during my third year of University. When I first heard about the program during my first year, I knew immediately that it was something I’d do one day. There was no doubt in my mind that I’d study abroad in Australia, only I had no idea how much it would change the course of my life!
Some Things I Learned Along the Way
While I learned many things during my brief time studying in Australia, there were some moments that stood out among the rest.
There is so much more to life than your hometown:
Before making the decision to study abroad in Australia, I had never considered what life would be like outside what I already knew. I had only ever lived in my hometown and university town. Flying halfway across the globe is a huge change but it couldn’t have come at a better time! I couldn’t wait to explore a new place.
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I saw this exchange program as an opportunity to start travelling and see how I’d like it. I ended up travelling with a friend who would be studying in another state before our semesters started. We did a tour in Thailand, explored Bali on our own and then did another tour through the east coast of Australia. It opened me up to the world of travel and I never looked back! Since then I’ve travelled to about 20 countries and can’t wait to see more.
Sometimes all you need is a new perspective:
When you study abroad, you meet a lot of people. I mean a lot of people! What’s great about that is that you’ll end up making so many new friends from around the world. I never had an opportunity like this where I could meet so many people. Many are afraid they won’t make friends when travelling but that’s nearly impossible when studying abroad! You’re bound to make friends in your classes but if that doesn’t happen, you can look through your student’s Facebook page. That’s how I found out about a trip to the Great Ocean Road and made a close friend that I’m still in touch with today, almost 5 years later.
That one friend, in particular, was vegetarian at the time and because we spent so much time hanging out and cooking, I started to look into it for myself. I went vegetarian as an experiment and loved it. I did my own research and stuck with it because of the environmental and health reasons. Today I eat mostly plant-based and couldn’t imagine my life any other way!
I’ve also had opportunities to travel with new friends I made who were from Canada, Colombia and Spain. I loved learning about what life is like in other countries and hearing their stories. I discovered a new type of curiosity I never knew was within me while learning from others. We built a strong bond and even organized a trip to Spain and Portugal in 2017. Those are memories that I’ll cherish forever.
One conversation can change everything:
You never know who you’re going to meet and what conversations you’re going to have during your time abroad. While any type of travel will open you up to amazing conversations with strangers, studying abroad is a little different. It will provide you with the opportunity to talk to likeminded people, teachers and professors.
I’ve never been one to have a close relationship with a teacher or prof but I’ll never forget the one conversation I had with a prof that changed everything. I was completing my English credits at Deakin University at the time and didn’t spend much time on campus. In fact, I was only there about once a week for a class or two. I had to take public transit to get back to my place and I happened to run into one of my English profs while commuting after class.
At the time, I had been considering a possible career in law. I wasn’t quite sure where my English & Communications degree would take me after graduation. So with a little hesitation, I struck up a conversation with her and asked how she became an English prof. To my surprise, she told me that she was a lawyer previously. I asked for more details and she explained the reason behind why she didn’t like working as a lawyer and it suddenly ‘clicked’. Every single thing she listed were things I knew I wouldn’t enjoy doing on a regular basis. Suddenly, I threw that “I’m going to be a lawyer” mentality out the window and started thinking about what I could do with my writing. Flash forward 5 years and I’ve been running my own travel blog and work as a freelance copywriter.
I truly couldn’t be happier with how things turned out!
What are you waiting for?
Long story short, if you’re thinking about doing a study abroad in Australia (or any other country for that matter), just do it!
If a certain place is calling you, go with the flow and see where it takes you. You have nothing to lose. Most exchange programs ensure tuition is paid regularly to your home university. You can also sublet your apartment at home, so you shouldn’t be incurring too many other costs along the way. The program I did also granted a $1000 travel scholarship to anyone in the program, which can completely cover your return flights if you study somewhere in Europe. It certainly helped put a dent in the flight expenses to Australia.