Studying abroad has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made to date. I have met so many amazing people and have had so many first experiences. If you would have asked me a year ago what I expected to gain from studying abroad, my answer would not have done this reality justice.
There was a rocky start to my trip, with 15 total hours of layovers at the airport and 21 hours of total flight time, accompanied by air sickness for the majority of my flight across the world. Rocky start aside, this trip has given me the opportunity of a lifetime.
There is a small town off the southern coast of Australia called Lorne. It’s wedged between beautiful beaches and eucalyptus forests. This is the first Australian town I came to know. Here I got a first-hand look at the stereotypical Aussie lifestyle as I spent the days surfing, hiking and playing footy (Australian rules football). I visited the town with a large group of international students, meeting people from all over the world. I had the privilege of staying in a cozy hostel with all of my newfound friends.
When we left Lorne, we embarked on our bus tour of the Great Ocean Road. This was an amazing experience in which each turn on the narrow, windy road brought to light something spectacular; whether it be a breathtaking ocean view or magnificent rainforest scenery. Along the Great Ocean Road we stopped at beautiful formations such as the 12 Apostles and the (now fallen) London Bridge rock formation. We stopped at multiple beaches and had the whole day to take everything in as we made our way back to Melbourne.
Life in the city has been an eye-opening experience. I live in a tiny room and I share two bathrooms with 11 other people, but this isn’t a problem because I spend very little time in my room. Melbourne is full of diversity and there is so much to explore downtown. I have been lucky enough to go to White Night, a light show that happens yearly at Federation Square, the Color Run Grand Prix Edition (The run was located on a Formula 1 racetrack) and I’ve spent many days lounging at St. Kilda Beach and next to the Yarra River in Downtown Melbourne. This trip has drastically broadened my horizons as I’ve begun to realize that there is so much more to life than I could have ever imagined. This trip has put things into perspective and I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff because there are much greater things to focus on.
If I had to choose, out of all of the decisions that I have made throughout college, which has made the biggest positive impact, the choice would be studying abroad in Australia without a doubt. I have made connections with people from Scotland, Ireland, England, Sweden, Germany, France, Azerbaijan, Japan, Australia and so many other places that I can’t count with two hands. I have seen some of the most beautiful places in the world and I have had the time of my life. If you’re reading this and you’re undecided as to whether or not you truly want to study abroad, make the decision to go for it. You won’t regret it!